Some kids are really fascinated with the sky. They always ask questions like, Dad how many stars are there in the sky? Or where does the sun goes at night time? Or Why we are not able to see the moon at daytime? and many more questions like that. This curiosity indicates that they like astronomy and to help them get motivated and get them to the next level buying a first telescope for him/her will be the best option.
How to decide, which is the best telescope for kids?
The telescope must be portable means it should not be too much heavy for your kids to move it from one place to another. It should be easy to use after all this is for kids they will not want to waste time in assembling or collimating the telescope before each outing, slowly they will loose interest. The telescope should be ready to use just taking out from the box. The third point is the telescope must be durable means it should be able to withstand any pressure or damage (until and unless optics is safe). After all, it is intended to be used by a kid (and we all know how naughty kids are). And the last important point we should keep in mind before buying his/her first telescope is the budget. There is telescope starting from 50 $ to above 1000$. The higher you go the better quality of optics you get.
But I will suggest you not to invest too much in your kid’s first telescope because you don’t know how much time his interest gonna sustain in astronomy. Start with a budget between 50$- 100$ (not less than 50$ they are a waste of money) then if you notice his interest towards astronomy is growing, he is eager to go to the next level. Buy another more advanced Telescope then.
Aperture plays the most important role in deciding the right telescope for you. Afterall, bigger aperture will result in more light gathering power which will eventually result in better image quality. The minimum aperture you must consider is 60mm, below 60mm the telescope is useless. Here is the list of top 5 best telescopes for kids (age under 15 years) that are priced under 100$.
1)Celestron 21036 Powerseeker 70AZ Telescope
Eyepiece 2: 4mm
Dimension: 10 x 13 x 38 in
Weight: 12.35 pounds
Price: 79.79$ approx.
Best suitable for: kid between age 8 to 12 years
My rating: 9/10
This powerseeker from a brand name Celestron comes with 70 mm aperture and getting mostly above 4-star rating on Amazon from its verified customer. This telescope comes with two eyepieces 20 mm and 4 mm and has 40X and 175X magnification power respectively. Highest useful magnification of this telescope is 140X so a 4mm eyepiece gives blurry image but 20mm eyepiece with 3X Barlow lens does a good job.
You can clearly see the moon, the sun(use sun filter), Jupiter and at some extent, Saturn rings.the main advantage of this telescope is it comes with erect image optics(image will not be upside down) so your kid can also use it for terrestrial viewing like bird watching, viewing mountains and many more things in the day time. Overall a very good telescope from a brand name Celestron(with a 2-year warranty) for your kid below 8 years.
2)BARSKA Starwatcher 400x70mm Refractor Telescope.
Eyepiece 2: 4mm
Dimension: 14.5 X 3.9 X 4 in
Weight: 4 pounds
Best suitable for: kid between age 4 to 8 years
Price: 55.15$ approx.
My rating: 6/10
BARSKA starwatcher does not do the great but decent job at its price. It comes with two eyepiece of 4mm and 20mm in which 4mm is useless(it’s free so no problem). Don’t get your hopes too much high with the number 400X don’t know how they get it does a good job up to 120X.
It comes with a tabletop tripod and carry case so makes this telescope easy to travel with. Build quality is ok mainly made up of plastic to cut the price. What more we can expect at this price we are getting what we are paying for. Overall good telescope for kids under age 8 years.
3) Orion 10012 SkyScanner 100mm TableTop Reflector Telescope. (Our #1 recommendation)
Eyepiece 1: 10mm (magnification 20X)
Eyepiece 2:20mm (magnification 40X)
Dimension: 9.5 X 9.5 X 14 in
Weight: 6.2 pounds
Best suitable for: kids between age 10 to 15 years
Price: 99$ approx.
My rating: 9.5/10
Skyscanner tabletop from Celestron is perfect for kids with its 100mm aperture and a table top Dobsonian type Altazimuth mount an only Reflector in this list. Just put on the table, chair or any stable surface and you are ready to go. The telescope comes with two high-quality eyepieces(not plastic) of 10 mm with a magnification of 20X and 20mm with the magnification power of 40X and does a great job.
In future to make it more advance, I will suggest you buy a 1.25” 3X Barlow lens to increase the magnification to 120X because highest useful magnification of this telescope is 150X. Once in a while, the device needs to be collimated but don’t worry it is a very simple process. Here you just have to adjust the Secondary mirror, not a primary mirror. If still having difficulty in collimation just call Orion they will assist you or even you can check online lot of tutorials are present there. I know it is on the border of the price range of 100$ but the optics you are getting at this price range are incomparable to some other telescope in this category.
The telescope weighs about 6pounds and height is about 2 ft which make it extremely portable to carry from one place to another place. In a night we can see craters of the moon, rings of Saturn easily. In a perfect condition where there is no light pollution and the air is steady, we can even observe the deep sky with this. Overall outstanding telescope for your kid, children or beginners.
4) Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope
Eyepiece 1: 20mm
Eyepiece 2: 10mm
Dimension: 14 x 7 x 18 in
Weight: 3.3 pounds
Best suitable for: kids between age 5 to 10 years
Price: 65.97$ approx.
My rating: 8/10
This Celestron telescope (full review) is made up of highest quality material to make it durable and a backpack comes with it makes it highly portable. Tripod and other accessories come with this telescope easily fit into the softly padded backpack to make all of your accessories safe during.
20mm and 10mm eyepiece come with it give the excellent wide field of view. This telescope can also be used for terrestrial viewing. The skyX software which comes with this telescope will give every detail about space and help your kid to move in right direction. only negative point is its tripod, it is made up of aluminum very light weight. Do not worry you can use simple camera tripod with it.Overall great scope to learn on and for this price, there is no better telescope in the market.
5) Meade Instruments Infinity 70mm AZ Refractor Telescope
Barlow lens: 2X
Dimension: 57 x 43 x 33 in
Weight: 7 pounds
Best suitable for: kid between age 8 to 12years
Price: 76.93$ approx
My rating: 7/10
This telescope is a refractor has an aperture of 70mm and focal length 700m. Being a refractor it doesn’t require collimation. It is good for both terrestrial as well as celestial viewing. The telescope has an alt-azimuth adjustable height and also comes with slow motion control to smooth tracking of objects.
Gives an excellent view of the sun (don’t forget to use a solar filter), the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn. Overall it is no different from the other telescope I have mentioned in point 4. Just because of the absence of soft padded backpack I have given it 7 stars otherwise it is good telescope and will not disappoint you.
*Price changes daily on Amazon , Do not forget to check the current price by clicking product image.
This concludes our “Best telescope for kids” list. Buy any of the above Telescope and spend some time with your kids in setting up the device and learning about the sky, he/she will surely love it. All the Telescopes mentioned above are consistently getting very high ratings from its customers on Amazon and are best in their price. Now its upto you to decide which one these telescope fits your budget and your kid’s age. All in all, we just tried to give an honest review for all of them to help you with your buying decision.
HAPPY STARGAZING !!!
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