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The Best Marine Compasses

Getting lost while you are out sailing is such a horrifying experience that should never happen to anyone. Thankfully, you can always carry a marine compass with you. But, navigating can be a tough challenge, and with that, you’ll need to carry a dependable device.

best marine compass

Ahead, we list down the best marine compass brands that could be your lifesaver out at sea. It is a nice idea to have this tool as it can make a huge difference. So, browse through the list and find the best one that works well for you. After all, it won’t hurt to have good company to help you.

Top 12 Marine Compass Reviews

1. TurnOnSport Boat Compass

Marine navigation has never been more accurate with TurnOnSport Boat Compass. Accuracy has always been one of the most critical issues with marine compasses, but TurnOnSport’s compensators easily settle this concern.

One of the highlights of TurnOnSport is its East-West and North-South compensators that minimize external influences on the marine compass. This leads to a more precise direction, making it one of the most reliable and in-demand compass brands in the market today.

The compensators aren’t my only favorite thing about TurnOnSport. I also like that it’s dependable day in and day out. At night, its incandescent light makes the device visible and readable. There is nothing to worry about when the dark sets in.

And if you’re concerned about the rugged marine conditions, this brand is definitely up for the tough times. The compass’s made from ABS plastic, which is waterproof and corrosion-resistant.

Despite its hefty size, the device remains lightweight. Installing it yourself will be a breeze. The compass comes with two EVA stickers and two screws, so mounting is never a challenge. Just look for the sweet spot, stick it up or screw it and you’re done.

You also do not have to worry about exposing the compass to too much sunlight as it has a movable cover for shade. Whether it’s a big boat or a kayak, TurnOnSport is your dependable marine compass.

One downside is the size may be a bit bulky.
Pros
  • Reliable East-West, North-South compensators for accurate direction.
  • With incandescent lights for nighttime viewing.
  • Lightweight, waterproof and corrosion-resistant.
  • Easy setup using freebie stickers or screws.
  • Has sun cover to avoid too much sun exposure.
  • Can be used in various marine boat types.
Cons
  • Size may be a bit bulky.
Overall, this brand does not disappoint and performs well even under the harshest navigational conditions.

2. Ritchie Navigation Compass Surface Mount

Reliable utility and superior accuracy are what Ritchie Navigation Explorer Compasses are known for. With over a century of experience in the marine industry, Ritchie Navigation products remain top producers of navigational compasses for commercial and recreational boats. So, what’s up with their Explorer compasses? Find out in this review.

One of my pet peeves with compasses is how unreliable they can be. But this 2.75″ surface mount compass has what it takes to be considered a trustworthy product. I love that the makers reinforced the device with a triple cup sapphire jewel and a toughened steel pivot where every micrometer matches to a tee.

As a result, the device operates quite smoothly and locks on rather quickly even when subjected to extremes.

To be more specific about it, this device sports High Gauss Magnets customized for different compass specifications. These magnets seek and lock to magnetic north, so you know you are always right on track.

Another must-have utility for any boat compass is compensators. You can tick that box off as this compass has those. It has solid, built-in, non-interactive magnets that act as compensators for correction and accuracy. Moreover, you will get to enjoy its nighttime internal green illumination using a 12V power light.

However, over time, the adjustment rod may start to rattle.
Pros
  • Accuracy guaranteed with its triple cup sapphire and robust steel pivot.
  • Uses High Gauss Magnets that point to magnetic north.
  • Its solid compensators reliably correct deviations.
  • Green light illumination for nighttime navigation.
Cons
  • Adjustment rod may rattle over long-term use.
For accuracy, smoothness, and ultimate device responsiveness, Ritchie Navigation Surface Mount compass is the product for you.

3. Odowalker Marine Digital Compass

Tired of an unreliable compass? Odowalker Electronic Marine Digital Compass is one of the few top-of-the-line brands that hold on to promised accuracy and aesthetics. It is highly functional and straightforward, giving you spot-on directions without a lot of fuss.

If you’re a sailing enthusiast as I am, then you’ll definitely find this device to be quite a dependable buddy at sea. The device is sturdy and is made for tough times using high-quality ABS material.

Nighttime sailing can also be extra challenging for sailors, as poor lighting impairs much-needed visibility onboard. So I like that Odowalker had its compass built with an incandescent bulb light to illuminate the compass. This makes the device readable even at night.

Another thing I like about Odo Walker is how easily you can adjust the declination sheet. Thanks to its adjustable brackets, managing the compass’s position relative to the viewer’s angle can be done swiftly. I did not have to stay in one spot to get a good view of the compass.

Moreover, this compass is not just for marine use. It’s also best suited for cars, trucks, and other land-based automobiles. Odo Walker is truly one of the most flexible compass devices you can get out there. The device is available in black and white colors with a neat-looking design.

The only downside, I think, is the lack of instructional material. However, a quick look online will land you at a plethora of help on using this device.
Pros
  • Sturdy and reliable, made from high-quality ABS.
  • Nighttime illumination using built-in incandescent bulb light.
  • Manage compass’s position easily using its adjustable declination sheet.
  • Flexible device; can be used on land-based automobiles.
  • Neat design coming in black and white color options.
Cons
  • Lacking instructional guide.
For a compass that’s highly functional and fashionable, Odo Walker makes a great choice.

4. DETUCK Dashboard Boat Compass

The right marine compass for me comes from the reliable company DETUCK. I love this dash mount marine compass because I can use it night and day thanks to its night lighting feature and red indicator line.

The magnetic declination easily identifies both east-west and north-south directions, so I never get lost in the middle of the ocean as it improves the compass’s accuracy. I have come across several compasses that come with this feature, but not all of them are as easy to adjust as this one.

For a light traveler like me, I always choose to bring lightweight objects. I am glad that this compact compass only weighs 2.7 ounces. It is light on both my hands and in my pocket. Plus, it is also easy to mount as it comes with double-sided tape and screws that you attach to the dashboard.

There is almost no issue with this compass, aside from the tiring configuration that you have to do from time to time. To steer clear of going in the wrong direction, you must ensure that the compass’s horizontal level is adjusted and rotates freely.
Pros
  • Ideal for both night and day usage with its lighting feature and indicator line.
  • Comes with magnetic declination that accurately locates direction.
  • The magnetic declination is easy to adjust.
  • A lightweight and compact compass.
  • Easy to mount due to the double-sided tape and screws.
Cons
  • Needs frequent configuration of the compass’s horizontal level.
By far, this is a small boat compass that I have brought on board. It made my sea trip more convenient as it precisely guides me in the right direction. I never get lost with it.

5. RITCHIE NAVIGATION F-50 Explorer Compass

If you are looking for compasses for boats, then you have come to the right place. Few things beat the Ritchie Nautical Compass, among other sailing compasses. This device is easy to read thanks to its direct reading dial. Plus, your night trips will become a breeze with its built-in green lighting.

The Ritchie compass is made with Sapphire jewel and toughened steel pivot. Besides that, it boosts sturdiness with high-temperature composite. You do not want to miss its classic finish and design, either! When I bought it, I immediately knew that this one oozes exquisite quality just by looking at it.

One feature that I like about this compass is the impressive directive force magnets because not all sail boat compasses are blessed with this feature. It gives me a quick heading lock-on so I can have a more precise direction anywhere I go. You know you are in good hands with RITCHIE because they offer a 5-year warranty on all items.

It may seem like a perfect compass, but the thing is that this compass needs a little calibration to operate smoothly. Not to fret though, the calibration is as easy as one, two, and three. It would not even take up too much of your time.
Pros
  • This flush mount boat compass is easy to read with its direct reading dial.
  • The built-in green lighting makes your night trips easier.
  • Composite, sapphire jewel, and hardened pivot for optimum durability.
  • Classic finish and design.
  • Directive force magnets make for a quick heading lock-on.
  • The brand offers a 5-year warranty.
Cons
  • Requires a little calibration to operate smoothly.
This boat product is a must-try! If you want to experience the excellent quality of this flush mount marine compass, then you should get one now. I assure you, no one would want all its features to go to waste.

6. SUN COMPANY Mountable Kayak Compass

If you opt for easy installation, then this compass is for you. The SeaTurtl surface mount marine compass features four modifiable elastic cords that secure the item in place, whether on a kayak or a paddleboard. This feature ensures a snug mount anywhere you attach it.

A busy sailor like me wants a compass that is quick and easy to read. I am grateful that I found this compass. Upon purchase, SeaTurtl served as an easy-to-read marine compass that perfectly fits on my standard-sized deck.

The hood’s adjustable feature gives protection to my favorite compass, especially when not in use. It also prevents glare when I use it on the sea. This is one of my ideal features since I hate the blinding glare which may cause accidents. It is a dangerous thing that we tend to overlook.

All of the features of this compass stay true, even when years passed. However, people with peaked decks may not be able to utilize the features of this compass very well. This one works best on flat decks. So, if your boat comes with one, consider yourself very lucky because of the features this compass has to offer.
Pros
  • Features four modifiable cords that secure the compass in place.
  • The SeaTurtl Mountable Kayak Compass is quick and easy to read.
  • The adjustable hood protects the overall product and also prevents glare.
  • All compass features stay true even after years.
Cons
  • Not suitable for peaked decks.
If you want a decent compass for activities near the shore, then you can count on this compass. It is fairly sturdy and is a good deal for the price. What are you waiting for? Get one now.

7. COSTIN Multifunctional Metal Military Compass

This is one of the most reliable marine compass company in the market. COSTIN is famous for its durable products that can last for a lifetime. Their waterproof compasses, which are usually IP54-rated, are also coated in high-strength engineering metal, ensuring durability and sturdiness that others cannot top.

Whether your cruiser is dead on the sea or moving sluggishly against an outbound tide, this compass gives good heading. It is a reliable boat compass that stays functional and accurate no matter the circumstances.

You do not have to worry when you get stuck in the dark, too. This high-quality marine compass comes with a fluorescent design that lights up the right direction for you. It comes with a glowing magnetic arrow and compass card. Plus, it illuminates the dial, too, so you can read the data without worries, even in a dark environment.

As an outdoor adventurer, I love to take this compass anywhere I go without worrying about getting this product destroyed. This compass is also shock-proof, aside from being graded with IP54 water resistant. The only downside is that this compass tends to be heavier for its size.
Pros
  • It is a waterproof compass with a water-resistance rating of IP 54.
  • Coated in high-strength engineering material for optimum durability.
  • Stays functional and accurate even when your boat is dead on the sea.
  • Comes with a fluorescent design that illuminates in dark areas for you.
  • This product resists shocks aside from being waterproof.
Cons
  • This compass is a little bit heavy.
Overall, this compass is a reliable tool to keep your sails smooth. It can definitely guide you in the right direction quickly and easily. You should get yours and try it for yourself.

8. SHORELINE Illuminated Marine Compass

When I found this compass, I immediately knew that my search was about to end. This 12V device illuminates in a dark environment, so you can see the direction very clearly, anytime and anywhere. It also does not spin, giving me clarity even when the boat gets shaky.

If you love jeweled compasses like me, then you should try this one. It comes with a durable jeweled pivot installation that you cannot take your eyes off. The great design of this compass is coated with UV protection for a product that’s meant to last. I am also pretty sure that this easy-to-install compass will never delay your sea trip.

You can save a lot with this one because it features a low power draw you can rarely find in other products. This multifunctional compass is really something that you should have. It is a simple compass that perfectly serves my need for accurate direction.

However, if you are looking for a handheld compass for sailing or camping, I would not recommend this one. It is a big compass for small RVs or other vehicles with a smaller area, since it’s specially designed for boat usage or vehicles with larger spaces.
Pros
  • Illuminates in a dark environment so you can see the direction clearly.
  • This marine compass does not spin, giving you more clarity on the direction.
  • Comes with a jeweled pivot for durability and classic design.
  • The marine compass is UV-protected.
  • Easy to install and features a low power draw.
Cons
  • The product is too large for RVs, as it is designed for big boats with larger areas.
It would be junk not to try this product. If you want to keep your sails safer and quicker, then you should try this compass. It is very accurate, and it holds all the features a sailor would love.

9. KEENSO High Precision Boat Compass

The name says it all. This professional-grade compass will satisfy all your needs as it promises to lead you in the right direction in all of your trips. KEENSO truly belongs to the top marine compass manufacturers because ever since I bought its product, I have never got lost, and I easily reach my destination.

One thing I look for in a boat compass is durability. Thankfully, this one never disappoints. It is made of superior quality ABS plastic that efficiently resists any chances of rusting. Plus, it is also environmentally friendly, and the bracket is adjustable. You can be at ease with this compass that is easy to use.

I have tried several tiring compasses that lead me in the wrong direction. They even gave me hassles because I couldn’t read the direction pointed very well. The easy-to-read dial of this compass is far different because it guides me in the right direction easily, quickly, and with no confusion.

However, you might find the installation challenging because this one does not come with instructions. You have to figure out how to mount this. Luckily, the presence of the internet and technology does our search for manuals quicker and more convenient.
Pros
  • A professional-grade compass that leads you in the right direction
  • An eco-friendly compass.
  • Made of the finest ABS plastic that resists corrosion.
  • Comes with an adjustable bracket for easy maneuver
  • The compass dial is easy to read.
Cons
  • The installation may be challenging as it lacks a manual upon delivery.
All the features of this compass kept me captivated, and I am glad that I tried it. If you want to have a regret-free purchase, then you should get this compass too. It is a worthy product.

10. YOSOO HEALTH GEAR Boat Navigation Compass

You can look for a marine compass online, but you may never find a compass as good as this. When I get lost at sea, I know I can count on this product’s direction accuracy. The dial is also convenient to read, thanks to the accuracy compensator that comes with the compass.

For those who want to install their compasses in a jiffy, I highly recommend this one. It is a bracket-mounted compass, so it is known for its easy installation. It also supports the charge of your car or boat while offering a proper viewing angle to give a more precise direction.

This compass works well in many vehicles, which is why it tops other compasses. Unlike others that are bulky or too small for boat use, this one comes with the perfect size for your RV or sailboat. Plus, you will not need electricity or tools to install it.

This item is made from ABS, so you will know that it is extremely sturdy and reliable. You don’t have to worry about rusting issues, either. Its only setback is that you have to calibrate it before use, a common issue among brand-new compasses. But fret not because calibrating this compass is quite easy to do.
Pros
  • The dial is easy to read and delivers accurate results due to the compensator.
  • This is a bracket-mounted compass, so it is easier to install than other models.
  • Proper viewing angle for better direction.
  • Its great compatibility allows this compass to work well in many vehicles.
  • No electricity or tools needed.
  • The ABS material prevents this product from rusting.
Cons
  • It needs calibration before you can use it for the first time.
It is truly a must-try compass. I never regret buying it because it really helps me out in the sea. With this buddy, I never get lost. You should try this long-lasting and highly reliable compass.

11. GELOO Boat Navigation Compass

Are you tired of inaccurate compasses that lead you in the wrong direction? Then you can now rest easy because this marine compass from GELOO will never misguide you. It is a good pivoting compass for your car and boat, giving precise directions anywhere you go.

Since it is made of superior ABS, you know that you can count on this product. ABS material is known for its extreme durability that makes any product last long. It resists corrosion, too. So, you can take it on all your sea trips without worrying about the salty ocean breeze that causes rusting.

Another highlight of this product is the lighting. This boat compass with light saves you from the dark as it illuminates itself to make the dial easy to read. You don’t have to stress about the installation because it pretty much attaches to any surface. It comes with an EVA foam sticker or screws to make your work more convenient.

You might be shocked by the size of it because this compass usually looks bigger in person. So if you want a smaller one, I would not recommend it. However, if you like sea trips, this compass is ideal for the size of your boat’s deck.
Pros
  • Gives precise directions for your vessel with its pivoting feature
  • Item is very durable since it is made from superior ABS.
  • Non-corrosive compass, so you can take it on your sea trips.
  • Illuminates in dark areas
  • Easy to install as it sticks on almost any surface.
  • Comes with EVA foam and stickers
Cons
  • Looks bigger than the advertised picture
I can assure you that this compass is everything that you need on your trip. The brand made its way to the top because of the reliable and robust features of its products. So, get yours now.

12. BRUNTON Dash Mount Compass

We are now at the last but not the least product in this article, and I will tell you why I reserved this one for you. I got this bulkhead mounted compass when I was about to have a long trip at sea, and this dash mount compass never disappoints. It is a flush-mount compass, too, so you can easily put it on top of almost any surface, including kayaks.

Plus, this compass is way different from other models in terms of quality and reliability. The BRUNTON compass has five-degree graduations for optimum accuracy. You know you are going in the right direction with this tool.

Save your troubles with this easy-to-read compass with its direct reading disc that makes this feature possible. It gives spot-on directions with its reciprocal bearing, even when facing giant waves at sea, so you would not have trouble figuring out your location.

However, the boat compass dash mount comes with screws that are too sharp; they will tear other equipment in your bow compartment. Not to worry though, finding the screws to fit this compass is definitely a walk in the park. You can almost find them in any store you go to.
Pros
  • This flash-mount compass attaches to almost any surface.
  • Also a bulkhead mount device.
  • Comes with five-degree graduations for optimum accuracy.
  • The product is easy to read thanks to its direct reading disc.
  • Gives accurate directions with its reciprocal bearing.
Cons
  • The included screws are too sharp.
Do not miss out on this remarkable product! It is a must-try compass for all your boating adventures. When you get this, prepare to be a master at the sea with the intense accuracy it off

Buyer’s Guide

best-small-boat-compass

We all want to make our buy worthy. That’s why everyone should be equipped with some info regarding marine compasses. So, what are the two important things that you must keep in mind? Well, first is the mounting method.

If you choose the correct mounting method before buying your compass, you will notice how it makes all the difference. There are different mounting methods, but I will just introduce the four common ones and exclude less common types like the overhead marine compass. They are the bracket mount, flush-mount, surface mount, and binnacle mount.

In a bracket mount, the compass usually rests in a bracket. You can mount this type on helms or decks. It is also easy to do, and you can have the right angle right away, which is why it is loved by many compass users.

Next is the flush mount. In this type, the compass lies inside the dashboard. It comes with a challenging assembly, but I can guarantee that the quality and visuals that this mounting type offers are out of this world.

The surface mount is where the compass sits on top of the dashboard. Just like a bracket mount, it is also easy to install. If you opt for a decent-looking installation, then you should go for this one.

Lastly, the binnacle mount. Just like the name says, a binnacle-mounted compass comes with its own case. It also looks decent and classy, but this mounting type may be bulky and takes up a lot of space. It also needs a lot of work, just like a flush mount.

After knowing the mounting types, I know that you already have your favorite in mind. It is time to go to the next thing that you should consider – the size. You would not want a bulky compass attached to a tiny helm. Besides that, the right size allows you to read the direction quickly and easily, even after installation.

Remember that smaller to mid-sized ones can range from 4 to 5 inches wide. Small sailboats, usually under 20 ft., are better suited with a small surface-mounted compass.

Do Marine Compasses Come with Mounting Brackets

dash-mount-marine-compass

A bracket-mount compass usually comes with a mounting bracket. Some compasses do not come with a bracket mount, but there are times when you can convert one type of mount to another — for example, using a bracket to convert a flush mount to a bracket mount.

If you do not want to have a bracket mount, you can opt for Ritchie Explorer, Voyager, or Navigation Globemaster models.

How to Adjust My Marine Compass

Marine compass adjustments can be a piece of cake or a headache. But the general rule is to head zero degrees using the compass while disregarding the heading. After that, you should turn exactly 180 degrees and adjust the compensator. This will take out half the overshoot or undershoot. You can then repeat the steps on 90 to adjust the fore compensator.

How Do You Make Sure the Compass is Running True to Its Lines

To know if your compass is running accurately, you should observe these things. Put the compass on a non-magnetic flat surface.

Afterward, you should turn it in a clockwise and counter-clockwise direction. If the compass is accurate, the needle should act like a match stick that floats in the middle of a basin of liquid that you twist.

Conclusion

Calibrating a compass is one of the most challenging parts for me. I know that you can eventually get used to it, but the quality of a compass also plays a part. Choose a compass that delivers accurate direction and does not require constant calibration or tapping. It will save your time a lot.

Choose the best marine compass that comes with your preferred mounting type. By doing so, you can install something that you can actually handle. If you are a starter, choosing a bracket or surface mount is a good idea.

Besides, If you are care more about cabin products for boat such as boat seats or boat carpets, you also can search them on categories on the top of the article.

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