The best compasses in the UK 2023

There's nothing worse than finding yourself in the middle of nowhere while hiking or on a wilderness adventure, and not being able to find your way back. That's why it's so important to always have a compass with you. As important as a map and a first aid kit, this device will allow you to enjoy your outdoor adventures without hassle. But which compass to choose? Read our guide to find out.

Lixada Survival Kit 1

Editor's Choice

Lixada Survival Kit

The best compass in 2021

With the Lixada emergency survival kit, you will be like a fish in water in the wilderness. It will help you in case of a problem while hiking, camping or going on an adventure.

27,18 £ on Amazon

The Lixada emergency survival kit is a complete survival equipment. You will find a multipurpose knife, an emergency blanket, a silver whistle, a compass, a key ring, a fire starter, velvet, a wire saw, a tactical flashlight (without AA battery), an object loop, a paracord bracelet. In fact, the survival bracelet that Lixada offers contains a host of small accessories often useful in hostile environments. Although it is composed of several elements, this survival kit is not imposing. It fits well in a small box to keep preciously in your belongings. With the Lixada Survival Kit, you will have everything you need to deal with emergency situations.

Suunto compass 2


Suunto compass

The best entry-level compass in 2021

Is convenience the most important factor you want in a compass? Suunto offers you a precise, button-sized model that fits anywhere you want.

13,95 £ on Amazon

It is a small compass the size of a button that actually works. The Suunto is a high quality piece of equipment. It gets its name from the clip mechanism on the back of the device. It offers a convenient solution for attaching the compass to thinner watch bands, gear straps, lanyards, map edges and anything else you can fit into the clip.

It has a glow-in-the-dark marking in the bezel. These markings glow brightly enough and long enough to be useful. The bezel rotates so you can mark an approximate course. In fact, the face of the compass contains an obvious north designation marked by a large triangle containing the letter N. West and east are also noted by large letters, and Suunto's own mark indicates the south end of the rotating disk that acts like a needle.

Garmin eTrex Touch 35 3

Top of the line

Garmin eTrex Touch 35

The best high-end compass in 2021

The Garmin eTrex Touch 35 stands out from other hiking GPS units for its mapping, performance and reliability. In addition, the battery life reaches 16 hours.

190 £ on Amazon

Similar to a small smartphone, the Garmin eTrex Touch 35 has a simple and intuitive navigation system. This hiking GPS is also suitable for other outdoor activities such as camping, trekking, mountaineering ... With friends, family or solo, you will not get lost with this device.

With the Garmin eTrex Touch 35, enjoy the TopoActive topographic map of all of Europe. In addition, you will have 250,000 virtual treasure hunts at your disposal. Finally, its 2.6-inch capacitive touch screen, bike mount, barometric altimeter, electronic compass, great compatibility and USB connectivity will surely leave you wanting more.

Ejoyous Boat Compass 4

A great choice

Ejoyous Boat Compass

A great gyro model

If you're looking for a compass that doubles as a clinometer, the Ejoyous compass is there to serve you in a boat or vehicle. It can be mounted on any flat surface without detracting from your interior decor.

17,78 £ on Amazon

It is a multifunctional and professional marine compass with which you can correct the deviation thanks to the attached equipment. Taking into account the convenience and habits of the driver, its magnetic system has been specially adjusted in the opposite direction. The direction of pointing of the compass is the same with the way of driving a vehicle.

This compass has been made from high quality ABS plastic material, durable, corrosion resistant and environmentally friendly. The dial features LED lighting for easy reading by day or night. Its adjustable mounting bracket and clear lines offer easy direction reading. The compass can be easily mounted to almost any flat surface with the included EVA foam self-adhesive system or screw system.

Buying guide • November 2023

Best compass

Any specific needs?

The best compass in 2021

The best entry-level compass in 2021

The best high-end compass in 2021

A great gyro model

Your guide : Samuel

Rate this buying guide :
0/50 votes

By rating this buying guide, you are helping us to reward our best writers. Thank you!

Comparison table of the best compasses

The best Inexpensive Top of the line Excellent
Lixada Survival Kit 5
Suunto compass 6
Garmin eTrex Touch 35 7
Ejoyous Boat Compass 8
Lixada Survival Kit
Suunto compass
Garmin eTrex Touch 35
Ejoyous Boat Compass
With the Lixada emergency survival kit, you will be like a fish in water in the wilderness. It will help you in case of a problem while hiking, camping or going on an adventure.
Is convenience the most important factor you want in a compass? Suunto offers you a precise, button-sized model that fits anywhere you want.
The Garmin eTrex Touch 35 stands out from other hiking GPS units for its mapping, performance and reliability. In addition, the battery life reaches 16 hours.
If you're looking for a compass that doubles as a clinometer, the Ejoyous compass is there to serve you in a boat or vehicle. It can be mounted on any flat surface without detracting from your interior decor.
Survival kit with magnetic compass
Magnetic compass
Hike, car, bike
Gyroscopic compass
Hiking, camping, hunting, fishing
Hiking, camping
Barometric altimeter with tilt compensation
Car, boat
Additional options
Multiple outdoor tools and first aid supplies
With sighting mirror
Adjustable stand with LED light
Yes (with rechargeable lithium battery)
Durable high quality ABS plastic
Battery need
Not for compass
Yes (battery)

Help us improve this table:
Report an error, request the addition of a feature to the table, or suggest another product. Thank you for your kindness!

Buying guide - compass

Primary Item (H2)Sub Item 1 (H3)

Why can you trust us?

Why you can trust us
Our mission
How to support us
We do NOT accept any sponsored posts or advertising.

We spend thousands of hours each year studying the major specialized websites, analyzing products of hundreds of brands and reading user feedback to advise you on the best products.

Our mission is to simplify your purchasing decisions.

We are a product review company with a single mission: to simplify your buying decisions. Our research and testing helps millions of people every year find the best products for their personal needs and budget.

We are a small team of geeks and enthusiasts.

To support us you can: use our links to make your purchases (which often earns us a small commission), share our articles on social networks, or recommend our site on your blog. Thanks in advance for your support!

How to choose your compass

Here are the parameters to consider when choosing a compass.

#1 - Durability

To ensure the durability of a compass, opt for a version with an anodized metal case. The anodizing treatment prevents the metal from corroding. This ensures that the accessory will last longer. The compass should also be tested to withstand harmful conditions, such as contact with sand particles, bumps, drops, or even immersion in water.

#2 - Magnetic needle

The compass needle should point north immediately and easily. It is enclosed in a liquid, which helps it turn freely. Make sure the liquid doesn't freeze at low temperatures. Your new compass should be able to guide you anywhere and in any season.

#3 - High-resolution bezel

The compass case is usually surrounded by a rotating bezel. Preferably, choose a compass with markings for all 360 degrees, or even 720 half degrees. The higher this resolution, the better your navigation will be.

#4 - Baseplate

With your map in one hand, and your compass in the other, the base plate of the latter should be transparent, so you can see the map below. Ideally, this tray should have additional features, such as centerlines, side rulers, a directional arrow, and a magnifying glass for added map accuracy. All of this will help you better orient yourself and plan your wilderness escapades. The base plate of your compass should also have a lanyard connected to it, so you can attach it to your other gear or wear it around your neck. This makes it easier to carry on your hike.

#5 - Luminosity

Be prepared for all eventualities by choosing a compass suitable for night use. For this purpose, your compass should have a bezel and luminescent markers. So make sure the model you choose has reliable luminescence that doesn't fade over time.

Take care of your compass

Once you've chosen the best compass, take care of your investment so that it takes care of you as well. Here are some tips to help your compass last longer:

  • Don't carry the compass in your backpack near metal tools or electronics and without protection against bumps and breakage. You can put it in an outside pocket or even hang it around your neck.
  • From time to time, test the alignment of the compass. The polarity of the needle may be deteriorating somewhat. See if you can restore the magnetism of the needle or consider replacing the compass.
  • At the end of the day or before you leave on a long hike, take a close look at your compass. Clean it thoroughly, especially parts such as the sighting mirror and base plate.
  • Check for bubbles near the needle. A large enough bubble can interfere with the needle's movement. Such a compass should not be in your survival or hiking kit.

The different types of compasses

Here are the types of compasses available on the market with their advantages and disadvantages.

The magnetic compass

The magnetic compass is a compass with a magnetized needle aligned with the magnetic poles of the earth. Magnetic compasses include the prismatic or Lensatic compass, surveyor's compass, liquid compass, marine or map compass, baseplate or orienteering compass, solid-state compass, and the Qibla

GPS compass

compass.The Global Positioning System (GPS) compass uses satellites in geosynchronous orbit above the Earth to indicate the exact location and direction of the wearer's movement. Devices with a GPS compass accurately determine the positions (latitudes, longitudes, and altitudes) of antennas on Earth, from which cardinal directions can be calculated.

Gyro compass

A gyro compass is a form of gyroscope, commonly used on ships using a rapidly rotating electrically powered gyro wheel. Frictional forces, the influences of gravity and the earth's rotation, and other factors using basic physical laws are exploited by the gyro compass to find true north.

Astro compass

This navigation tool uses the positions of various astronomical bodies to determine the direction of true north. This compass is mainly used in polar regions where magnetic and gyro compasses are no longer reliable. It uses the current time and the geographical position in the form of latitude and longitude. According to this information, it is pointed at any astronomical object with a known position to give an extremely accurate reading.

Compass or GPS?


One of the best parts of a survival kit you can take with you on an adventure is an up-to-date map and compass. Of course, you need the basic knowledge to decipher your map. Using a detailed map alongside a compass is a great way to explore a new environment or revisit an old one.

The art of orienting a map and compass in the field encourages you to look around, pay attention to your route and make observations related to distance and time. This automatically means you're taking into account details you wouldn't have thought of if you were using a GPS system.

Even so, the compass is not completely infallible. Although it's relatively rare, like any device, compasses can fail for any number of reasons, including when not properly maintained. Keeping a compass too close to cell phones, power lines or other electronic or magnetized gadgets can cause a reversal of polarity. This can lead to false readings.


Unlike the hands-on, mentally demanding approach of using a compass, GPS is easy to decipher. Once it has recorded a destination, GPS usually sends a set of "step-by-step" instructions to its user, who need only follow the instructions provided by the device.

Again, this is not without its flaws. A GPS unit will tell you approximately how long it would take to travel a given distance, but this can sometimes be inaccurate because the unit can't always take into account actual terrain conditions. This can lead to frustration on the part of the user.

It can also create a sense of detachment between the walker and the wilderness he or she is walking through, like when you enter a destination into your car GPS and pay absolutely no attention to the road signs and places you are passing.


In short, if you're a hiker who likes to travel to remote locations, use a traditional map and compass that doesn't usually require a power source. However, if you plan to take enough batteries or a solar charger with you on your trip, turn to a GPS system that offers a lot of functionality. Basically, you should have to choose between the two, as they complement each other best when used in conjunction with each other and not in an "either/or" scenario, as one will check the data provided by the other at the same time.

Why buy a compass?

To navigate in the unknown

It's one thing to navigate from a position you know well, but if you're in unfamiliar territory, you can use a method called triangulation. First, choose two distinct reference points in your environment. For example, identify a feature to the northeast and another to the southeast. Then use your compass to record their directions in degrees from your position. Try to identify both features on your map, and when you're finished, draw lines from the reference points corresponding to the angle of each position you recorded. You can identify your position by the intersection of the lines. With a compass and some basic knowledge, you'll be able to find your way around on your own.

For its increased portability

One of the advantages of a compass is that it's portable. The compactness of most modern compasses allows you to add one to any size pack without worrying about extra weight. Most compasses can fit in your pocket. Some come with straps so you can hang them around your neck or wrist to avoid losing them.

To find your way on your own

When you use a compass, you can determine your own direction and position. Even if you're alone in the wilderness, cut off from the rest of the world, as long as you have a compass and an accurate map at your disposal, you can happily navigate without the need for another person's help or a power source.

For quick orientation

Another advantage of using a compass is the speed with which you can take a reading. While a modern global positioning system, or GPS, can give a more accurate reading more quickly, you can still pull out your compass, locate your current position on a map and set your future course in just a few minutes. In contrast, using a transit to establish your position can take 10 to 15 minutes, and offers no real advantage in terms of accuracy.

A real gem for sailors

The magnetic compass was an important advance in navigation, as it allowed sailors to determine their direction even if clouds obscured their usual astronomical landmarks such as the North Star. It uses a magnetic needle that can rotate freely so that it always points to the North Pole of the Earth's magnetic field.

The best brands of compasses

In our opinion, the best brands of compasses in 2022 are :


Since 1936, Suunto has specialized in exploration equipment thanks to Tuomas Vohlone, a Finnish orienteer who discovered the method of making an accurate liquid-filled compass. Currently, Suunto has expanded its business into innovation for sports watches diving instruments and equipment for adventurers.

Ejoyous is an online retail company that offers a wide range of items. It sells makeup and skin care tools, watches and jewelry, home essentials, and other great products with good quality and design like the compass.

The Garmin company was founded in October 1989 by two American engineers, Gary Burrell and Min H. Kao. It is one of the world leaders in satellite navigation equipment and systems. Its products are robust while being efficient and pleasant to use.

This brand exists since 2004 and it offers a wide range of products related to outdoor activities. Its products range from sports equipment (clothing, shoes, gloves, etc.) to camping and fishing equipment. This brand offers mainly entry and mid-range products.

Founded in 2001, TwoNav is a Spanish brand specialized in software dedicated to the practice of extreme sports. The brand then launched its own line of GPS navigation devices.

What is the price for a compass

The diagram below will help you to get an idea of the typical prices for each price range (entry-level, mid-range and high-end).

However, more expensive does not necessarily mean better.

We therefore advise you to always consult our ranking before deciding, rather than blindly relying on price ranges.

6 £ to 25 £
25 £ to 70 £
more than 70 £
Price range diagram


Using the clinometer on your compass well

A clinometer helps you measure slope/slope/angle to ground/elevation. This is especially useful when you need to know how steep the hill or mountain in front of you is, or if there is a potential avalanche hazard ahead.

Adjusting your declination

As you probably know, magnetic north and true north are not the same. Declination is defined as a difference between the two (in degrees). It's important to adjust it for your location, which is usually done through a declination adjustment tool attached to your compass.

Using the sighting mirror well

This is a useful feature that helps you determine your targeting landmark with the compass on your map. The mirror usually comes with a notch. You open the mirror to a 45-degree angle and use the notch to align the compass with the target. Then you look into the mirror and align the direction of travel arrow accordingly.

Using a compass well

Pick up the compass and hold it flat in front of you. Make sure the direction of travel arrow is pointing straight ahead. Then turn around, keeping an eye on the magnetic needle. When the red tip lines up exactly with the directional arrow, stop. The red end of the magnetic needle is pointing north. Ignore all other markings on the compass, except for the direction the red half of the needle is pointing.

Converting magnetic north to true north

A true bearing would generally be 8° smaller than a magnetic bearing. So, to go from a magnetic bearing to a true bearing, you would have to subtract 8°.


How reliable are compasses?

Yes, as long as you buy quality compasses by referring to our comparison. Also, compass accuracy is largely influenced by the terrain you're in and your experience. For example, if you are aware of local nickel or iron deposits, then you know how they might influence your compass needle.

What is magnetic north on a compass?

This includes the direction a compass needle points when it aligns with the earth's magnetic field. What's interesting is that the magnetic north pole shifts and changes over time in response to changes in the Earth's magnetic core.

How to use and read a compass?

Toread a compass, all you have to do is point the arrow on the device at a landmark or object. Once that's done, make sure your compass needle is precisely over the orientation arrow by turning the compass case. Make sure the needle is pointing north. Now all you have to do is read the number on the edge of the compass.

How does a compass work?

The best ally of hikers and backpackers, the compass is a navigation tool that is equipped with a magnetized needle. Often used in conjunction with a map, it serves as a guide to avoid getting lost along the way. The compass is aligned with the Earth's magnetic field to indicate what is called "magnetic north", different from geographic north.


Note: Below are some of the sources we have consulted in writing this article. Links to other sites are not continuously updated. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. Please use a search engine to find the desired information.
  1. Compass : SMART COMPASS,
  2. The orientation instruments under the microscope (advantages and disadvantages),
  3. What is compass surveying? types of compass,
  4. True north and magnetic north: what's the difference?,
  5. The benefits of a compass,
  6. Learning to find your way around,
  7. from the compass to the satellite.,
  8. How does a compass work?,
  9. Using a compassOrientation,
  10. How do you use a compass without getting confused?,
  11. Finding your way is easier than nav systems tell us,
  12. Map and compass vs GPS: which serves you best when exploring the wilderness?,
  13. Boussoles | Decathlon,
  14. Boussole - Wikipedia,
  15. Boussole - Achat matériel pour sportif | Black Friday fnac,
  16. All our compasses for orientation during your ...,
  17. : Compasses - Electronics : Sports and Leisure,
  18. : compass,
  19. Boussole : which is the best one ? Comparative & Reviews,
  20. Compass - Cdiscount Sport,
  21. How to use a compass: 15 steps (with pictures),
  22. Compass- TOP 5- How to choose and use it well,
  23. Compass - orientation & topography,
  24. BOUSSOLE - Encyclopædia Universalis,
  25. Compass | Navigation instruments at low prices |,
  26. Compass - Definition and Explanations,
  27. Orientation races and raids : Geonaute compasses ....,
  28. Boussole - Scoutopedia, the Scout Encyclopedia,
  29. Definitions : compass - Larousse French dictionary,
  30. iPhone - Compass - How It Works,
  31. Boussole - WAKE UP,
  32. | Powerful conversations in your 1:1 and your ...,
  33. BOUSSOLE - Villefranche Oceanological Observatory,
  34. Boussole - Vikidia, the encyclopedia for 8-13 year old,
See more


March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

See more
Our selection
Lixada Survival Kit 9
Lixada Survival Kit
Suunto compass 10
Suunto compass
Garmin eTrex Touch 35 11
Garmin eTrex Touch 35
Ejoyous Boat Compass 12
Ejoyous Boat Compass


Every month we help more than 1 000 000 people buy better and smarter.

Copyright © 2022 - Made with by

Your reviews and buying guides 0% advertising, 100% independent!