In choosing the best telescopes, you should consider your level of expertise. There are numerous choices out there and selecting the best one can be mind-boggling especially if you only have a limited budget. Most people think that getting a starter telescope costs a lot. In reality, there is a legion of options out there which only costs below $250. However, it is also essential that it is made of high-quality optics and has a firm mounting in order to have an enjoyable experience. Keep in mind that you should choose a model that is very easy and convenient to use. Additionally, it should also be portable.
Who Makes The Best Telescopes
Before getting your first telescope, you have to understand that this tool requires patience, knowledge and most of all money. If you ask an astronomer then he’ll probably tell you to start with a pair of binoculars. It is much cheaper than telescopes. Also, it can let you see more than you’ve ever imagined. Aside from this, binoculars can also be used for outdoor activities such as birding.
By the time that you are already ready for some genuine stargazing then you can buy your first telescope. The most popular brands are Celestron, Meade, and Questar. Celestron is the most prominent of them all. They offer different types of telescopes from larger reflectors to small portable scopes. There is also a wide range of apertures to choose from, so you can choose the one that suits your preference.
When Meade first introduced their product in 1996, most people predicted that they can beat Questar. However, it did not satisfy customer’s expectations. But in recent years, they have amazingly improved and have incorporated their products with Go-To technology. With this latest innovation, you don’t have to do any manual adjustments. It’s tripod also offers more stability.
Questar is the most prominent brand among beginners. They are best known for making quality products. There are several models that you can choose depending on your needs and usage. This brand is best known for its high-quality telescopes which come in different eyepieces and finder power. Astronomers are happy and satisfied with their products.
Quick Overview Best Telescopes
Celestron NexStar 8 SE Telescope
StarPointer finderscope, 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope
Celestron CPC ® Deluxe 800 HD Telescope
8" Edge HD Optics, 50mm Finder Scope, StarBright XLT Coatings
Celestron AstroMaster 114EQ Telescope
With motor drive, StarPointer finderscope, Equatorial mount
SkyWatcher S11800 GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian
8” Dobsonian, 1200 mm focal length, SynScan hand controller
Vixen Space Eye 50mm Telescope
Comes with Finder Scope, Eyepieces, and tripod, weighs 6 lbs.
Celestron NexStar 127 SLT Telescope
127mm (5") Maksutov-Cassegrain, StarPointer finderscope
Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Dobsonian Telescope
8" diameter reflector optics, 2" Crayford focuser, ultra-stable base
Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker Telescope
127mm Aperture, German Equatorial Mount, aluminum tripod
Orion 10014 SkyQuest XT 4.5 Dobsonian
900mm focal length, 4.5" aperture, two eyepieces, durable and portable
Celestron 70mm Travel Scope
Altazimuth mount, aluminum full size tripod, TheSkyX software
Best Telescopes Reviews
1. Celestron NexStar 8 SE Telescope
Celestron NexStar SE is chosen as the best telescope of the year for four consecutive years. It has the best technological features, aperture, and value. It is also very portable to use. Regardless, if you are a first time or you want to upgrade your current telescope, Celestron NexStar SE is the best choice.
- This is one of the best telescopes since it uses the Schmidt-Cassegrain or Maksutov-Cassegrain optical system. It allows you to broaden your aperture from four inches to eight inches.
- The StarBright XLT optical coatings offer you excellent brightness and clearness.
- The SkyAlign Technology allows you to locate several celestial objects by merely pointing 3 objects in the sky.
- You can choose to add the SkyQ Link 2 Wifi Module. With this module, you can make use of your smartphone is managing your telescope.
- The telescope can align on its own with the use of StarSense AutoAlign.
2. Celestron CPC ® Deluxe 800 HD Telescope
Celestron CPC Deluxe HD Series are considered as the best telescopes for navigation. It is very easy to set up. It comes with a GPS. All you have to do is turn on the telescope and it will automatically recognize the time, date, latitude and longitude. Just point it at the center of 3 objects and you can instantly locate numerous celestial objects in the sky.
- Deluxe HD models come with enhanced tracking accuracy.
- You can guarantee its stability because of its dual form arm mount.
- The EdgeHD of Celestron has superb clarity.
3. Celestron AstroMaster 114EQ Telescope
Celestron AstroMaster 114EQ is one of the best telescopes for beginners. A lot of people are using this telescope in viewing the universe. This is due to its large primary mirror. It is the perfect telescope for first timers since it has a very simple design.
- This telescope has an excellent light gathering ability to let you see different celestial objects clearly.
- The equatorial mount is very useful for first timers. It can track the celestial objects accurately even if it moves.
- Celestron AstroMaster 114EQ is very affordable since it only costs below $200.
- It comes with everything you need including the tripod, mount, accessories and of course the telescope.
- Download Celestron’s stargazing app, SkyPortal to learn more about various celestial objects.
4. SkyWatcher S11800 GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian
If you require a larger telescope then the best option is the Sky-Watcher GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian. There are different sizes to choose from. The bigger the size, the more details you can see. Storing is not a problem since it can be disassembled. This is perfect if you are transporting it from one place to another.
- The GOTo technology and the large aperture are very useful for astronomy enthusiasts.
- The SynScan hand control is very easy to use.
- The telescope remains aligned regardless if you swing it.
5. Vixen Space Eye 50mm Telescope
Let your kids discover the universe with Vixen Space Eye 50mm Telescope. This is one of the best telescopes for kids. It is very easy to use, making it perfect for kids. This telescope only weighs 6.2 lbs so your children can install it on their own. It comes with a 50mm refractor which can be used for gazing at the planets and the moon. You can easily make any adjustments through its altazimuth.
- It includes two eyepieces.
- The finderscope is very helpful if your children want to explore the night sky.
6. Celestron NexStar 127 SLT
Celestron NexStar 127 SLT might be a bit expensive, however, it definitely is one of the best telescopes for beginners. This telescope is computerized, this means that you can easily locate celestial objects in the sky. A lot of astronomy enthusiasts get easily frustrated if they can’t find any celestial objects after a couple of hours. With this computerized telescope, they won’t get discouraged anymore. Even amateurs can get the chance to watch the stars instantly.
- It’s quality and price are just perfect.
7. Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Dobsonian Telescope
This telescope is the most expensive on our list, however, it’s also the best rated. It has a superior image quality. Orion 8945 can be used by any stargazers of different levels. If you want to attach a camera to the telescope then you should purchase an additional attachment. It weighs more or less 40 lbs. after it is assembled. It is a little bit heavier if you want to transfer it to another location.
- It comes with the Starry Night astronomy software which is perfect for beginners.
- This is the best telescope for those who love to watch celestial objects that do not fade too quickly.
- Orion 8945 can last for years.
8. Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker Telescope
If you have a tight budget then Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker Telescope is the best option for you. This is also one of the best telescopes for kids. It is very easy to set up and it does not require any tools. It gives you 300x magnification.
- It comes with two types of eyepieces.
- This telescope includes TheSkyX software where you can learn a lot of things about celestial objects.
- This is the best choice for those who are looking for cheap telescopes.
9. Orion 10014 SkyQuest XT 4.5 Dobsonian
At first glance, you can quickly tell that this telescope is durably built. You can guarantee that this telescope can last for years. You can easily transfer it from one place to another since it is mounted on wheels. The only downside of this telescope is that it does not stand too tall. This means that huge people have to bend over in order to look through the telescope.
- It comes with TheSkyX software to help you in exploring the universe.
- Orion 10014 is very portable. It is your best companion while you travel.
- This is a mid-range telescope and has a reasonable price. If you want to enjoy the amazing view of the sky but don’t want to pay more then this is the best telescope for you.
10. Celestron 70mm Travel Scope
Celestron 70mm Travel Scope is the cheapest and the smallest telescope on the list. It is a fact that great things come in small packages. And this telescope is the proof of that. This telescope is very convenient and portable. It is ideal for people who want to travel to places where they can enjoy a vast view of the sky. Obviously, if you travel you don’t want to bring those bulky devices with you, this isn’t practical. What this telescope lacks are power and size.
- This telescope includes a bag and a tripod.
- It is very easy to set up so you can start star gazing right away.
- This can make a great gift for your kids who are interested in astronomy.
How To Choose Best Telescopes For Beginners
If you are a beginner then here are some important things that you need to consider.
The mounting of your telescope is very important. Always make sure that it is durable. Best telescopes generally include tripods or mounts. However, smaller telescopes come with a mounting block which can be hooked up to a photo tripod. Take note that there are some mounts which can only work on telescopes. Blocks which include screw attachment are important in order to have a sturdy mounting. At the same time, it can also accommodate bigger plates.
Altitude-azimuth mounts are the types of mounts which are capable of swinging upwards and downwards as well as to the right and to the left. It works just like a photo tripod. A telescope that includes a wooden platform is also known as Dobsonian. If you want to monitor the movement of the stars then you should choose an equatorial mounting. All you have to do is to move it on a single axis. This type of mounting is a bit heftier compared to altitude-azimuth mounts. Additionally, the first thing that you must do is to look for the North Star and make sure that you are aligned with it.
Some telescopes come with small motors. With these models, you can easily move and point the telescope to the sky. On the other hand, there are also advanced models which are also known as the “go to” scopes. By entering the location, date and time, it will point you to several celestial objects. Some models include a guided tour to provide you with some essential information about the celestial realm.
Another important aspect that you should look into is the aperture. This is the diameter of the mirror which can be found near the focuser. The typical measurement is 2.8 inches. A larger aperture is preferable if you want to have a clearer view of the details. A small telescope is still useful even if you live far from the city. The maximum magnification of a telescope is usually 50x its aperture. Therefore, if you require a 600x magnification then you should get a 12″ scope.
There are abundant models of best telescopes that are available on the market these days. However, the ones that we mention are the best telescopes for 2018. Telescopes can be found in some libraries such as in Lake County libraries. This can entice people to get interested in astronomy. Happy stargazing to everyone! Some kids are interested in astronomy while others love to draw.