The Best Marine Compasses for 2021

Nicholas Swartz
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They say that two heads are better than one, but it only took a few for us to make this list of the best marine compasses of 2019. Many people feel lost without a compass, especially when they’re at sea. A marine compass is not quite as important as it used to be, but if you don’t have one, you’re never going to get started aboard your kayak.

So, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about the best marine compasses around. Did you know that the marine compass dates back to “Mercator’s compass” in 1569? Why would you want to own one? What are the best marine compasses for the modern sailor? Are you thinking of buying one?

NameCategoryProduct
Ritchie Navigation Explorer Compass,Best OverallRitchie Navigation Explorer Compass,
Estink Car Mount Compass,Multi-Functional Sea Marine Navigation Bracket Mount Compass Voyager Compass Outside Also Fits Boat Caravan TruckBudget PickEstink Car Mount Compass,Multi-Functional Sea Marine Navigation Bracket Mount Compass Voyager Compass Outside Also Fits Boat Caravan Truck
Ritchie New Sr2 Marine Venture Compass Bulkhead MountUpgrade PickRitchie New Sr2 Marine Venture Compass Bulkhead Mount

1. Ritchie Navigation Explorer Compass,

Our rating: 9 / 10

Ritchie Navigation Explorer Compass,

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Pros:

  • Waterproof and shock resistance, rustproof and UV resistant
  • Tilt-compensated dial; 360-degree calibration ring and fluid dampened card
  • Easy to adjust, affordable

Cons:

  • Full windproof cover not included.

When you have to spend a lot of time on the deck of your boat, it is advantageous to have a compass that is full designed for marine use. The Ritchie Navigation Explorer Compass is a great option for a marine compass thanks to its durability and waterproof hardware.

It has a tilt compensated dial and fluid dampened card. This means that it will remain accurate even with even with drastic changes in your boat riding over waves.

As with all compasses, it needs to be regularly calibrated. Ritchie included a 360° calibration ring so that you always know how accurately you are navigating.

2. Ritchie Navagation F-50 Explorer Compass

Our rating: 9 / 10

Ritchie Navagation F-50 Explorer Compass

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Pros:

  • Easy to read
  • Water resistant
  • Excellent accuracy

We like this Ritchie F-50 because it features a large liquid-filled lens and a small outer glass lens for increased visibility. It also comes with luminous points toward the edges, which are useful for nighttime navigation.

This Ritchie compass also features a flip-top cover to protect the face, which is helpful for those who might want to carry it around. The counterbalanced needle is also a nice feature.

3. Compass, Surface Mount

Our rating: 8 / 10

Compass, Surface Mount

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4. Brunton Dash Mount Compass

Our rating: 8 / 10

Brunton Dash Mount Compass

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Pros:

  • The Dash Mount is compact and sturdy
  • The patented built-in mini ruler makes it easy to take measurements
  • The factory adjusted horizontal safe zone and magnetic declination adjustment indicators make it accurate

Cons:

  • The magnetic compass can skip a little
  • Its face may be difficult to read in bright sunlight

The Brunton Dash Mount is a a pocket-sized compasses with a slim and compact form factor. It has a curved bezel, luminous markings and shock absorbing end caps for its lens.

It features a multi-stranded stainless steel half-serrated needle and 360-degree azimuth bearings. You can rotate the compass bezel a full degree and use it in any position. The magnetic compass is safely secured inside the compass housing and protected by the magnetically sealed dry compass cover.

Its pivoting level is a very handy feature to have when you are climbing and the gun sights and cross hairs help to increase the accuracy of your shots. Navigation at night is easy with its glow in the dark hands and dial.

5. Odowalker Electronic LED Light Marine Digital Compass Suitable

Our rating: 8 / 10

Odowalker Electronic LED Light Marine Digital Compass Suitable

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Pros:

  • Easy to read in low light conditions
  • The large digit display
  • Fully digital
  • The 45-degree viewing angle
  • Made out of durable ABS plastic
  • Great for boating, boats and marine use
  • Easy to install
  • Waterproof
  • Low battery indicator
  • Easy to adjust and calibrate

Cons:

  • Hilariously bad instruction
  • Branded Odowalker, in small, ugly print on the back

The Odowalker LED compass is a top-selling compass that has been sold for a good number of years now. The basic unit comes both with a black and red display and a red LED light around the perimeter.

The unit is completely rugged and is IPX6 waterproof. It also comes with 180 degrees of visibility. The compass can be mounted on your dashboard and also comes with an adjustable arm.

6. Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck Compass

Our rating: 8 / 10

Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck Compass

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Pros:

  • Simple, small, and lightweight
  • 6-inch, easy to read
  • Built-in level
  • Simple, lightweight design

The Seattle Sports Sea Rover Deck Compass is a must-have for kayaks and paddleboards. This chart compass is a 6-inch glass base compass with easy to read colors. The colors are easy to read, the read-out moves in a counterclockwise direction, and it includes a built-in level.

While it is a chart compass, it works very well for basic navigation. The readout also has a tilt level, so you can display it on a table or other flat surface without the need for any adjustments.

It’s small size, level, and easy-to-read colors make it an ideal compass to have along if you’re out kayaking or paddleboarding.

7. Shoreline Illuminated Marine Compass

Our rating: 8 / 10

Shoreline Illuminated Marine Compass

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Pros:

  • Beautiful, well-made compass
  • The base is lightweight yet sturdy

Besides keeping your ship out of trouble at sea, your marine compass should also be kept safe in the hands of a sturdy and reliable case in a marine position. Unfortunately, most marine compasses today are in the form of sailing and fishing accessory disasters. So, when it comes to finding the best marine accessory you can get for your navigating adventures, it’s hard to beat the permanently welded marine compass.

If you’re a sea adventurer, you’re probably well aware of how important the o-6 marine compass made by Cammenga. This strategically streamlined case measures only 2 inches in length. It’s made from anodized aluminum with a stainless steel “floating” ring with a flat surface. This surface provides an easy reference point for the compass dials.

The case is designed to be placed in a clear acrylic or polycarbonate window box with a raster pattern etched inside it. This window box allows for easy viewing of the needle while secured and enclosed in the sturdy marine case. The window box has a sliding cover for housing and protecting the compasses of the highest quality.

8. Ritchie New Sr2 Marine Venture Compass Bulkhead Mount

Our rating: 7 / 10

Ritchie New Sr2 Marine Venture Compass Bulkhead Mount

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Pros:

  • High quality
  • Fast and accurate readings
  • Highly visible even at night
  • Very accurate bulkhead mount
  • Installed easily and securely
  • Good quality

The new SR2 Pilot compass has been thoughtfully designed and constructed to allow a quick and easy installation, offering wearers both optimal visibility and a pleasant and comfortable product. This timeless design is housed in a lightweight and robust plastic casing and features a large easy to read dial that can be viewed even at night thanks to the strong luminous markings.

We really appreciate that this model features the new Compass Technology® that is very accurate. It comes with a high-quality liquid-damped capsule sphere and jewel bearing for trouble-free performance.

The compass rotates with a remarkable smoothness which is a big plus for nautical charts.

9. Estink Car Mount Compass,Multi-Functional Sea Marine Navigation Bracket Mount Compass Voyager Compass Outside Also Fits Boat Caravan Truck

Our rating: 5 / 10

Estink Car Mount Compass,Multi-Functional Sea Marine Navigation Bracket Mount Compass Voyager Compass Outside Also Fits Boat Caravan Truck

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Pros:

  • Fits a lot of phones: pretty much any smart phone with screen dimensions ranging from 2.2 to 6.6 inches
  • Very easy to install
  • Water resistant

Cons:

  • Doesn’t fit everyone’s phones
  • Doesn’t come with a user manual

The Estink multi-purpose car mount comes with a holder, a 360-degree swivel holder, and two adjustable holders. These holders can fit your phone from 2.2 to 6.6 inches.

It features a plastic clamp that can be adjusted by pushing in the two inner metal parts. It can be adjusted to a width of up to 2.7 inches.

The metal part of the holder can be bent so you can use it to hold your phone. It can also be adjusted to any angle.

10. Ritchie Navigation X-10W-M Sport Marine Compass

Our rating: 4 / 10

Ritchie Navigation X-10W-M Sport Marine Compass

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Pros:

  • Extremely good packaging
  • Good to have as a spare compass

The Ritchie Navigation X-10W-M is based on the tried and tested card slot design. It has a card slot to take a standard 3-1/2-inch card. You can slip a card in to get the magnetic variation and deviation readings from that sensitive area.

This marine compass has two liquid filled plastic balls in the upper housing. This marine compass features a triple-sensed card slot with a 360-degree magnetic bearing indicator. The housing is made of aluminum and glass filled ABS.

The dome on the top of the housing is white with a red needle pointer.

Conclusion

If you’re planning an expedition into the unknown waters aboard your very own yacht, it’s a pretty good idea to ensure that you know the way. That’s where the best marine compass for the job comes in.

In this article, we go through each type of marine compass and help you choose one that fits your needs, from the most basic compasses to the high-end GPS units.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Ritchie Navigation Explorer Compass,Best OverallRitchie Navigation Explorer Compass,
Estink Car Mount Compass,Multi-Functional Sea Marine Navigation Bracket Mount Compass Voyager Compass Outside Also Fits Boat Caravan TruckBudget PickEstink Car Mount Compass,Multi-Functional Sea Marine Navigation Bracket Mount Compass Voyager Compass Outside Also Fits Boat Caravan Truck
Ritchie New Sr2 Marine Venture Compass Bulkhead MountUpgrade PickRitchie New Sr2 Marine Venture Compass Bulkhead Mount