If we compare both refractor and reflector telescope of the same aperture we will find that image quality and sharpness of image is much better in refractor than in reflectors but still, most people prefer reflector over other because the cost per inch of refractor is much high. They use a lens to form an image and manufacturing lens used to be costlier than manufacturing mirrors. But here we are in 21st century, due to advancement in lens manufacturing technologies, manufacturer has succeeded in lowering the price of the lens to a decent level where an average customer can afford those ( a lot of work still need to be done though). In under 300$ price range, there is so much competition in the market that even a big and established brands have lowered the price of their refractors to compete in the market.
Between 200$-300$, you can find amazing refractor telescopes that will offer strong optics, large aperture, top notch technology and much more. These options are not only affordable but durable, versatile and easy to use also.
Let’s get started:-
Orion AstroView 90mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope
This great value telescope makes our best refractor list for good reasons. It has simple design coupled with high-quality performance. Once assembled (process will not take more than an hour even for a novice user), AstroView is also easy to use. For instance, it possesses an equatorial mount that makes it more comfortable to manually tracking the object in slow motion by turning one slow motion knob but first you need to align the polar axis to Polaris.
A 3.5-inch aperture and a focal length of 910mm with f-ratio of f/10.1 provide intense viewing precision. Package includes two different powered Plossl eyepieces, a low powered 25mm and a high powered 10mm that gives a magnification of 36x and 91x respectively. Even if Astroview is priced under 300$ but the quality of accessories and optics is not compromised here.
With around 100 reviews on Amazon where 85% are more than 4-star, this AstroView 90mm Refractor is rightly popular among the users. Here are some positive comments coming its way:
“If you want a starter telescope you won’t have to throw away or upgrade anytime soon, this will not disappoint.”
“Love my telescope! Easy to assemble and arrived (overseas) without a scratch.”
Celestron 22065 Astro Master 102AZ Refractor Telescope
This compact modern looking Astro master Telescope for under 300$ command your attention for its 4-inch aperture and easy to use alt-azimuth mount. Reviewers praise the aperture for providing a great view of the moon, Jupiter, and its four moons and also the beautiful Saturn ring.
The included two eyepiece of focal length 20mm and 10mm provides a magnification of 33x and 66X respectively. Red dot finder scope allows the user to locate to easily locate the object. Highest useful magnification of the telescope is 200x, users can definitely buy some additional eyepiece to explore even further deep in the sky.
To keep the price down, Celestron is not providing lots of additional accessories with this telescope, that’s ok. But the good thing is, they did not compromise anything on the build quality and optics of the telescope. They are even providing solid steel tripod whereas in most cases we notice to lower the price of telescope manufacturers include aluminum tripod in the package.
Here is what some satisfied astronomer say about the telescope (Amazon),
“If you want something portable and quick to set up and are interested mostly in viewing planets and the Moon, then for the price I highly recommend this scope.”
“I got this as a Christmas present, and it has worked great. I can see the rings around Saturn and the moon in very close detail. I love it!”
Meade Instruments Infinity 102mm AZ Refractor Telescope
The Meade (as the names suggest) has an aperture of 102mm and a focal length of 600mm that helps to deliver the bright and detailed image of the night sky. The scope most distinctive feature is its eyepieces, Meade has included three different eyepieces of 26mm, 9mm, 6.3mm focal length and also a 2x Barlow lens in the package.
With all that accessory and aperture you would expect it to cost more than 300$ however, this one comes in at around 205$. Reviewers also praise Meade instrument infinity for it’s very easy to set up the process. Inbuilt erect image optics also enable the user to use the telescope for terrestrial viewing.
Overall a perfect beginner’s telescope that operates smoothly and provides a clear view of nighttime sky within a budget.
Customer has high praise for Meade Telescope,
“This is a well thought out kit that includes just about everything someone new to the hobby would need.”
“Love this telescope! We saw Jupiter and 4 of its moons very clearly in the sky last night.”
Best Refractor Telescope for Under 300$ Round-Up
Those were the top three Refractors you can still buy in a relatively low budget. With more than combined 1000+ positive reviews from a satisfied customer on Amazon, believe me you can’t go wrong on this.
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