Compass: Which are the best in 2021?
Today we’re going to talk about a location accessory: the compass. Currently, there are several options on the market, so it is important to choose the model that best suits your needs.
Whether at the time of deep sea fishing, hunting in the middle of a forest or even camping or hiking with friends, we always face the possibility of getting lost along the way. That is why it is important to always have a safe location and guidance tool with you.
The product can be found in various sizes and materials, from plastic compasses to more resistant metals. Our mission here is to help you decide which compass to buy.
First, the most important
- Before purchasing a compass, it is important that you know when to use it. Even though they all point to the north, there are more functional models for water sports, others for trails and camping in forests and there are also specific items for divers.
- In addition to the size and weight, you should be aware of the material of the compass, which will depend on its use. Because it is a fragile equipment, when taking a walk it is good to have something more resistant at hand.
- The cost of the equipment will vary according to the design, materials, electronic resources. Here, we list compasses ranging from R $ 11 to R $ 450.
Best compass models: Our recommendations
In everything in life it is essential to have a north, a path to follow. If you’re a little lost in choosing your ideal compass model, check out our list of some of the best on the market!
- Geo Echolife Compass
- Cetus Diving Wrist Compass
- Pocket Transit 5008 Geological Compass
- Nautical Compass for Reading EchoLife Maps
- Masetools transparent military compass
Compasses have already played a very important role in world history. It was with them that navigators located themselves when making the great paths across the ocean, seeking to discover new lands. He could also: the first compass was created by the Chinese around the 1st century. That’s right, one.
Many years later, compasses still have their value and utility. Continue reading our Buying Guide and find out which model is right for you.
How does a compass work?
An indispensable companion for any navigator, the compass appeared long before the discoveries of the seven seas. It is one of the oldest man-made guidance and location instruments.
In its simplest form, the compass can be composed of a magnetic needle supported on a pin or even on water. Placed on a horizontal plane and suspended by its center of gravity, it can rotate freely.
It always remains aligned with the Earth’s magnetic field, indicating the North-South axis. Its tip always takes it to a point close to the geographic north pole of the planet. Consequently, we will also know the East-West axis.
In history, the first references of compasses are in Chinese encyclopedias dating from 1040 AD At this time, the equipment was used by diviners to predict the future. It was not until the middle of the 13th century that it was discovered by European navigators.
How to improve the use of the compass?
Most modern compasses differ slightly from each other, but retain the same basic components.
If a magnetic device uses a needle or any electronic instrument to indicate the direction of the magnetic south pole of the Earth’s magnetosphere, it can be called a compass.
For its use to have really precise purposes, it is necessary to use a cartographic map together with the equipment. This is so that corrections are made to be made in the gross reading of the compass.
These corrections happen for two reasons. First, the magnetic and geographic poles may not match perfectly. Second, the compass reading can be influenced by local factors, such as the presence of a lot of ferromagnetic material in the soil.
Compasses, like the Rosa dos Ventos, have the cardinal points: north (N), south (S), east (L) and west (O); and the collateral points: (NE) northeast, (SE) southeast, (SO) southwest and (NO) northwest.
This is an instrument that should be part of any expedition or outdoor adventure, and is also ideal for use by engineers, surveyors, antenna installers, builders and any professional who needs location data.
Compass: getting to know the device
In general, compasses are composed of the same elements. The simplest ones have a transparent and plastic base, usually marked with a scale rule and other side rules.
A compass is composed of a capsule and, inside it, there is a magnetized needle. This space is always filled with a liquid – almost always a low viscosity oil – to give stability to the needle.
The needle will usually highlight the north pole. Its tip, in most cases, is red or bright. But there are also compasses where the highlight is the southern point, the so-called “geologists’ compasses”.
The reading disc is a scale in degrees around the capsule. It serves to be rotated manually, to obtain the heading in degrees. In some models, this scale does not rotate manually, but only with the movement of the needle.
The North lines are without series and serve to align the compass with the meridians inserted in the map. They move with the reading disc. They are thin, black and parallel, usually at the bottom of the capsule or on a transparent slide.
The black and red stripe painted on a blade or capsule is called a gate. It serves to align the needle and moves along with the capsule and the North lines. In some models, the gate can be moved independently.
Acrylic, military or diver compass?
There are very common types of compasses. Some have an acrylic body, also called cartographic or geographic. Others are military style, with the body usually made of aluminum or other metal, called prismatic compasses. In this article, we list some of them.
Both models fulfill their role well, that of indicating the magnetic north, but there are some basic differences between them.
- Acrylic compass. It has a limbus (graduated part) independent of the needle. That is, the needle will not follow the movement of the rotating limbus.
- Military compass . The limbus is attached to the needle. When one part moves, the other moves together. It is as if the limbus and the needle form a single piece in it.
- Compasses for divers. In general, they are composed of a magnetic needle attached to a plastic disc. This disk is supported on an axis and contains the markings of the cardinal points.
Practically, all compasses allow the course to be read from the top, but some also have a small side window that facilitates navigation without the diver leaving the swimming position.
In some of these models, the display is fluorescent, allowing the diver to read the main markings in low light. It is also sensitive to tilt – the needle does not lock even when the compass is out of the horizontal position.
Also remembering that these models must be easy to use, since it would be complicated to move the crown using diving gloves.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a compass?
As you can see, we have already listed several advantages and uses of compasses, such as orientation and location tools when it comes to sailing, fishing, hunting, camping, hiking in the middle of the forest or even diving.
But it is clear that some products have their disadvantages. Those who venture into nature should keep in mind that carrying and knowing how to use a compass is necessary. After all, it is easy to get lost in natural regions, such as forests and seas. Knowing how to use a compass serves, at the very least, to keep you from going in circles.
However, its use requires some skill and it never hurts to remember:
Compass reading can be affected by the presence of ferrous metals, such as steel equipment (knives and scissors, for example), shipwrecks or natural deposits.
Any compass can be deflected and indicate the incorrect position of the north, if it is close to magnetic objects. Cars, GPS, pocket knives, watches, power lines or any electronic or metal object can interfere with the work of the compass. If a compass is in direct contact for half an hour with a metallic or electronic source, it can be damaged forever.
In the case of diving compasses, after use, the compass should be rinsed with fresh running water to avoid the accumulation of salt under the crown. Salt can impair your movement.
Also avoid exposing your compass to heat or strong impacts. Heat can cause the interior oil to expand and leak out of the equipment. Strong shocks can loosen the needle from its axis.
It is worth remembering that it is necessary to have an appropriate training, which can be obtained in orientation training centers in your city. Or even groups of scouts or divers.
The compass is an orientation device, not a lifesaver. If the user has no experience in navigation, he will not know how to use it correctly and will inevitably be lost.
- Lightweight and easy to carry
- Useful and safe in navigation
- in seas, forests or dives
- Can be used outside and inside the water, according to the model
- Modern decoration item
- Requires appropriate training
- Can be deflected if there are many magnetic elements in the region
- May be damaged if in direct contact with metallic source
- Can not stand strong impacts
Compass: What to pay attention to?
As we have already mentioned in this article, you must know in what situation you will use the compass. There are specific models for hiking, hiking or hunting in the middle of the forest. There are also types for sailing on the high seas or diving. You need to know which model best suits your adventure.
Also see if the product comes with a brief instruction manual. Do not take any chances on an adventure before you know how to use the equipment correctly.
The models with chains help in handling and prevent your tool from falling and have its use impaired. Before leaving for the adventure, train with the compass in wide and open environments. That way, you will not risk losing yourself.
How to clean a compass?
Never place a compass in washing machines. They are rather delicate equipment. In the case of diving compasses, wash in fresh running water after use, to avoid salt accumulation. On other models, use only a damp cloth to remove dust.
It is clear that the price of compasses on the market will vary according to the material used, as well as its functionality. Plastic compasses for camping or hiking do not cost a little more than R $ 10. The boldest ones, military style, can reach R $ 500.
Diving compasses, which look like wristwatches, cost, on average, R $ 300. It is good to remember that the compass is a sensitive equipment. So, if the material chosen is very fragile, it can damage the product’s useful life.
Where to buy?
Because of their wide use in adventure sports, compasses can be found in sports equipment stores or large magazines. There are still the most sophisticated ones, in stores specializing in nautical or hunting equipment.
There are also vintage-style compasses in decorative houses and reliquaries. On the internet, there are also several sites where you can find them, such as Amazon. There is also the option to search for used products in the Free Market.
Purchasing criteria: How to compare compass models to choose your own
The compasses available on the market can have several uses. So it is good to pay attention to some questions before buying the piece.
We want to show you what are the main factors that you should take into account to make a good purchase choice and so that you are not deceived:
Let’s explain one by one so that you don’t have any doubts about what to take into account when buying your compass.
Geographic compasses have an acrylic body and are more functional for use on maps, as they are transparent. The military style ones are made of aluminum, more resistant in case of impacts.
It is worth mentioning that those produced in plastic are lighter than those made of metal, but they can also break more easily. If you want a compass to use quite often, the metal compass may be more appropriate, as they are more robust and resistant.
Remembering that none of them should be exposed to the sun for a long time or to other magnetic or metallic sources.
Most compasses have a circular design, but some open and close to rest on maps. In the case of diving, choose the wrist compasses.
You can find those with a more vintage design, with more worked finishes. Or even simplistic and functional models, without details.
The style of the compass can match yours. And that choice is very personal.
In general, they have very compact dimensions. Its size is important to be considered both closed and open.
When closed they must fit in the pants pocket, and when open they must be comfortable to handle with just one hand. Soon, more functional compasses fit in the palm of your hand. Prefer a model that does not exceed 20 centimeters when opened.
But of course, there is no standard measure, it depends on your needs. Whether you have small or large hands influences the compass size that’s right for you. After all, she needs to fit and be comfortable according to your measurements.
You don’t want to take extra weight when you go camping or fishing, do you? The simplest compasses are lightweight and are nonetheless functional. Most plastic models weigh no less than 100 grams.
The compass is something that you will carry with you, whether in your pocket, or in your hand. So, a very heavy model can be uncomfortable in practice, check this detail in the product description. Even the metal compasses, which are more robust, weigh no more than your own cell phone.