Choosing the best telescope today can be a difficult task to achieve. With the amount of choice available today it can get tricky sometimes what to choose and what not to. Don’t worry, our team has picked top five reflectors based on their popularity, their high-end features and then divided each of them in the different price category. So, that you can decide for yourself how much amount you are willing to spend on your first telescope. Before we start, please read our post:-
It will help you to understand the basic terms related to a telescope like magnification, aperture, and focal length. If you are already familiar with those, skip that part.
Let’s get started:-
Top 5 Best Telescopes Review
This table shows the top telescopes available today based on the customer reviews and our test. Each one is divided into the different price category.
In depth review for each one is given below the table.
*Price changes daily, click on the image to get the current price on Amazon.
Best Low Price Telescope (Under 200$).
1-Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker Telescope
If you are low on budget or do not want to invest much in your first telescope the PowerSeeker telescope from Celestron is the right telescope for you. Celestron PowerSeeker features a 5-inch aperture and has a focal length of 1000mm and it also includes some advanced accessories like two Plossl eyepieces, one Barlow lens, an accessory tray etc. and it all cost just around 135$.
Optics is made of glass and also has an excellent aluminum coating to it to increase the reflectivity.
Included two eyepiece of 20mm and 4mm focal length gives the magnification of 50x and 250x respectively. When we combine them with high power 3x Barlow lens we get the 3 times more magnified view.
Included eyepieces alone cost around 60$ when bought separately.
Another reason we included this telescope in the list because of the sheer volume of positive reviews it gets on Amazon (900+ reviews) from its verified customers.
Many of the reviewers for this telescope praise the quality of image they get through it and how easy it is to use.
Let’s talk about some of the cons of the telescope.
Most of the reviewer complained and even we noticed that the mirror was not completely aligned (not collimated) and thus result in a blurry image. But that is a common problem in any reflector. Every reflector needs to be collimated once in a while, you can take help of lots of YouTube videos or even can read our post (click here) to collimate your telescope in less than 10minutes.
Another common complaint among users is, the eyepiece is made of plastic. But guys, what more can you expect from a telescope priced under 150$. One thing we noticed that the quality of optical tube (the most important component in any telescope) is not compromised at all.
Majority of reviewers given this scope above 4 stars. In fact, 70% out of 965 reviewers rated above 4 stars to it. At the time of writing Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker is retailing at 135$ on Amazon and according to the vast majority of users, a great scope to have in this price range.
Here are some comments from verified users on Amazon,
“I get it super good, and it works great. Now to look for the world. I am from Paraguay, and it was good arrived.”
“It’s a great little machine. Well worth the money.”
Best Telescope Review (under 400$).
2-Celestron NexStar 130 SLT Computerized Telescope
We choose the Celestron NexStar 130SLT telescope in our list because of some of the advanced features it has like computerized control, automatic tracking and much more in less than 400$. It is a Newtonian design reflector telescope that uses a 5-inch primary mirror and a focal length of 650mm to collect the incoming light.
The focal ratio of f/5.0 lets in a lot of light inside the tube in short time thus results in a brighter and sharper image.
The scope comes with two eyepiece of 9mm and 25mm that gives a magnification of 26x and 72x respectively.
Highest useful magnification of the telescope is 260X (two times the aperture of the telescope) so a 5mm Plossl eyepiece and a 2x Barlow lens will be a good option to have in future to explore even further deep in the sky.
Let’s talk about tracking
Due to its sky align technology tracking the object is quite easy in the sky. Just put the date, time and present GPS location after that point the telescope to any three stars in the sky and you are ready to go. After that insert, the name of nebula, star, or galaxies you want to locate the telescope will automatically point to that direction with the help of 4000 object database installed in its database.
Two most common problem most reviewers found with telescope is
1- Battery runs out quickly
The best solution for this problem will be a separate power tank. Buy a separate power tank and always carry with your telescope.
2- Mount is not stable enough
At 380$ approx. you are getting a computerized telescope, an automatic mount and two high-quality Plossl eyepiece which is already a great deal. And we agree Celestron had done some compromise in the quality of tripod to keep the price in the affordable range. But that’s ok, the best solution would be to keep a heavy sand bag on the accessory tray that will provide more stability to the telescope.
Some comments on this telescope from buyers on Amazon,
“Optics are good, everything is pretty much good, the pointier, eyepieces, packaging. Except for the tripod” (verified buyer on Amazon)
“This is an excellent beginner/intermediate or advanced grab and go scope providing crisp images, ease of use and many desirable software capabilities. I recommend it.” (Also a verified buyer on Amazon)
Best Mid-Range Telescope Review Under 600$.
3-Orion 8946 SkyQuest XT10 Classic Dobsonian Telescope
SkyQuest XT10 from Orion is a classic Dobsonian style telescope. It features a 10-inch aperture, largest in Orion line of XT telescope. Results in excellent light gathering capability for deep sky observation. Dobsonian telescopes are known for its simple design, easy to use feature and here even SkyQuest XT10 does not disappoint on this front.
XT10 Dobsonian telescope features a 10-inch parabolic mirror housed in a 48-inch solid steel optical tube with f-ratio of f/4.7 to give a bright and high contrast view with a minimum color distortion.
Orion uses a CorrecTension spring to easily attach or detach the telescope from its base. The feature is so simple to use that once the package arrives at your door it will not take more than 10 minutes to assemble the telescope. These spring also provide enough resistance to keep the telescope stable at one position during observation.
Orion listed this telescope as perfect for intermediate users. But in our opinion, even the beginner users will not get disappointed because of its simplistic design and easy tracking feature. To track an object, laser dot EZ finder II is included in the package. To observe the object you just have to align the red dot to whatever you wish to observe, so simple like point and view.
Include 25mm Plossl eyepiece gives a wide field of view up to 48X magnification when used with a 1200mm focal length of this telescope. Highest useful magnification of the telescope is 300x, so an additional high power eyepiece or a 3x Barlow lens will be a good accessory to have in your eyepiece collection.
Let’s talk about the one disadvantage of big size Dobsonian style telescope. Most common problem with this telescope is its weight. SkyQuest weighs about 54lbs when fully assembled. Quite heavy for an average user to move the telescope from one place to another.
Currently priced at 599$ SkyQuest is a simple, portable, excellent performing telescope. Perfect for any beginner users as well intermediate users to enjoy the night sky.
Here is a comment from verified buyers on Amazon,
“So far I have seen the Orion Nebula, the moon and clear image of Jupiter with its 4 moons. This was the first time I have ever seen a planet so detailed! My kids and I have had a great time so far!! I would highly recommend this telescope to anyone interested in getting into the hobby of star gazing!”
Review of Best high-end Telescope under 800$.
4-Orion SkyQuest XT8i IntelliScope Dobsonian Telescope
Orion SkyQuest XT8i is an 8-inch reflector telescope. Orion also calls these scope Intelliscope because of the intelligent features it possesses. More on that later, first let’s talk about the optics. SkyQuest XT8i has a diffraction limited parabolic mirror and an aluminum & silicon dioxide coating to increase the reflectivity that results in clearer deep sky images without any color distortion.
Orion has included two Plossl eyepieces of 25mm and 10mm. wide angle 25mm eyepiece gives the magnification of 48x and high power 10mm gives the magnification up to 120x.
Because of the computerized object locator and push to navigation system, these are also called as IntelliScope. To use the IntelliScope feature you need to align the telescope first by pointing the scope at any two bright stars. After it is fully aligned rest of the process is simple!!!
Just put the name of nebula, cluster or whatever object you want to see on the navigation remote, reading on the remote will tell you how much turn and tilt of the telescope is required until the target is in the field of view. These type of navigation is called push to navigation where we don’t have to be fully dependent on the motor of scope to point it to the object here our hands replace the job of the motor and thus results in low power requirement.
Users sometimes find difficult to assemble the telescope. Don’t worry there is a lot of YouTube videos present online that can help you on that.
Orion SkyQuest is almost a perfect scope that brings in more light for that amount of money. Dobsonian base provides the much-required stability during observation. As one reviewer on Amazon comments,
” Excellent light bucket for entry/intermediate level. If the cost little too high for you, go for a 6-inch dob your child will still rule the planetary skies. Couple it up with a Celestron eye piece/filter set and increase your viewing potential greatly.”
Best of the Best Telescope Review (Under 1000$).
5-Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope
Nexstar 6SE is a Schmidt Cassegrain design 6-inch Catadioptric (compound) telescope that uses a combination of both mirror and lens to form the image. These are compact and portable telescope and the biggest benefit of Schmidt Cassegrain design is it can pack in 5x focal length (1500mm exactly) of its actual length (16”).
The optical tube is Starbright XLT fully multicoated where alloy of multilayer aluminum mirrors is used with titanium dioxide to increase the reflectivity. For a fast and easy alignment process, point the telescope to any three bright stars. Once aligned NexStar 6SE is easy to operate. Hand controller allows to move the telescope at your will and offers a tour of the night sky and locate the galaxies, planets, nebulas with the help of 40000 object database stored in its computer.
With Motorized alt-azimuth mount and inbuilt RS232 and auxiliary port, you can connect it with computer or laptop to remotely control the telescope and enjoy the view on the big screen. You can also take the time exposure video eclipse (with a proper filter) or planets with an automatic tracking feature. Perfect for Astrophotography.
The telescope comes with 25mm eyepiece, which gives a 60x magnification a so great, clear and crisp view of planets and deep sky object even in a light polluted areas.
At the time of writing Celestron NexStar 6SE is retailing at 799$* on Amazon, 80% reviewers out of 355 given this telescope above 4 stars and rated the telescope excellent. If you have a budget of 1000$, don’t hesitate to go for this all round telescope that has high-quality optics, computerized automatic tracking, solid steel tripod, portable and light weight, all that advanced feature at 799$. Buy some extra eyepieces and power tank with those extra 200$.
“My first venture at seeing the stars, love the tracking function and ability to use my camera to photograph things I may want to get a picture of” J.Fields (verified customer on Amazon).
[*Update: Celestron is offering heavy discount of $100 on its NexStar series telescope. Celestron Nexstar 6SE is now retailing at 699 dollars and Celestron Nexstar 8SE at 999 dollars. Thanks to price cut, now NexStar 8SE is also eligible to be featured in our “Best Telescope under $1000” list. NexStar 8SE features an 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain design with fully automatic computerized controls. In our Opinion this is the best telescope anyone can purchase even under 1500 dollars. You can read our full in-depth review of Celestron NexStar 8SE here. ]