10 Best Telescopes for Beginners 2019 – Reviews & Buying Guide

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Best Telescopes for Beginners

So you are interested in the astronomy ☺️. Want to see distant nebulas and solar systems? Or maybe stay local by visiting our own planets. See the icecaps on Mars or the rings around Saturn. Astronomy can be a fun, educational, and rewarding hobby as long as you have the right telescope. How can you tell which telescope to buy? We will give you our top picks for the Best Telescopes for Beginners.

Top 10 Telescopes for Beginners and Professionals

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Here is a guide to the different kinds of telescopes. Refractor telescopes have a simple design and are easy to use. They tend to be very sturdy and require little maintenance. They can also be used for objects on earth if that is something you are interested in. However, they can often be heavy and bulky. Reflector telescopes tend to be compact and lightweight, and will usually have a very high image quality. also, you can check our Best Telescopes for Kids review

However, it requires more maintenance than a refractor telescope, as the open tube can collect dust. Also, you can’t use it to view earthly objects. The third kind of telescope is a compound telescope which has both mirrors and a lens. It is usually more expensive and tends to be large and bulky. But a sealed tube protects the optics and the image quality is good. You can use this kind of telescope for objects on earth as well.

In addition, The Best Telescopes for Beginners can be divided into analog and digital models. Analog models tend to be cheaper and will have plenty of good advantages to recommend them. However, you will need to be able to adjust the telescope manually, with the aid of star maps, to locate the objects you are interested in. Digital models are computer-controlled. They often come with a large library of celestial objects and the best times to observe them, and they can point themselves in the direction of interesting objects automatically. You can still manually find objects if you like, but the computer tracking makes it easy to quickly find celestial highlights.

When considering telescope features, you want the most bang for your buck. Key metrics include aperture, focal length, and magnification. The aperture is the diameter of the telescope’s mirror or lens. The magnification is determined by the focal length and the eyepiece. So to get the best viewing experience, you will want each of these three numbers to be as large as possible.

It is no good buying an expensive telescope if you don’t operate it properly. Follow all of the manufacturer recommendations and tutorials. Also, we would suggest the following tips. Light pollution will greatly affect your viewing experience, so you should try to find a wide-open area away from city centers. If you want to view stars and planets, the sky will be nice and dark the week of a new moon. If you want to view the moon itself, the time it when the moon is waxing or waning, not when it is full. Always use a filter when observing the moon to protect your eyes. Never look at the sun through your telescope.

Even the smallest vibrations will impact your viewing experience. Weigh down your telescope on a solid surface so it’s less shaky. Make sure to only touch the telescope with your eye, never with your hand, for stable images. You may want to consider investing in anti-vibration pads and a good telescope mount like an Altazimuth mount.

Did you know there are many astronomy apps available to help enhance your stargazing experience? No matter what kind of mobile device you have, there is probably one that is available to you. Reviewers recommend Star Walk 2, ISS Spotter, and NASA mobile apps.

But you first need to buy the telescope! Here are some of our telescope reviews for the Best Telescopes for Beginners available for the beginning astronomer.

Celestron NexStar 130SLT Refractor Telescope

Best-Telescopes-for-Beginners

The Celestron NexStar 130SLT Refractor Telescope is a computerized telescope. Its aperture is 5 inches; its focal length is 650mm; its maximum magnification is 307x.

The NexStar 130SLT has amazing image quality. Its large aperture offers wonderful detail on objects even at lower magnifications. With this fat telescope, you can see objects that wouldn’t be visible with a smaller reflector. Clearly see details such as moon craters, Mars ice caps, and Jupiter’s cloud belts. Take advantage of the top-of-the-line SkyAlign computer control, with a database of 4000 objects, which makes it easy to find and track objects in the sky.

Go-to function allows you to enter the date, time, and your location, and the telescope will point toward the celestial object that you want to see. In addition, assembly is a piece of cake, so that a newbie can get to stargazing right away. It comes mostly assembled so you just have to fit the pieces together and tighten a few screws.

Two eyepieces come with the telescope – a 9mm and a 25 mm. The 9mm eyepiece gives you higher magnification, while the 25mm eyepiece offers a wider field of vision – perfect for touring the skies. It also comes with a solid motorized mount and tripod. The telescope is also equipped with the star pointer finder scope with a red LED to help navigate and align the scope. The included software is “The Sky” planetarium software (Student-version) and NSOL telescope control software, along with an RS-232 cable.

Basic Features

  • Type: Newtonian reflector
  • Aperture: 130 mm (5.12 in.)
  • Weight: 30.5 pounds
  • Mount: Fully computerized single-fork altazimuth
  • Eyepiece magnification: 26x, 72x
  • Focal length: 650mm
  • Eyepiece size: 25mm
  • Focal ratio: 5

Accessories

  • Objects in database: More than 4,000
  • 2 eyepieces (25mm and 9mm)
  • StarPointer finderscope
  • Quick-release fork arm mount
  • Sturdy stainless steel tripod with accessory tray
  • Celestron Night Vision Red LED Flashlight
Pros Cons
Decent aperturePower hog
Wide field of viewsSensitive to vibration
Light, portable, and affordableShaky
Computerized go-to trackingGoTo technology is complicated, frustrating, and doesn’t always work
Easy, no-tool setup
Easy alignment process

Overview

Users rate this telescope very highly for stability, tracking, simplicity, and build quality. It comes at an attractive price point, and its durable engineering will keep you stargazing for many years to come.

Gskyer Space Astronomical 400x80mm Dual-speed Slow Motion Refractor Telescope

Gskyer-Telescope-80mm-AZ-Space-Astronomical-Refractor-Telescope-German-Technology-Scope

The Gskyer Space Astronomical 400×80 Refractor Telescope is an analog telescope. Its aperture is 3.1 inches; the focal length is 400mm.

The Gskyer Space Astronomical 400×80 Refractor Telescope is the best home telescope at a bargain price. You won’t get a lot of bells and whistles, but you will find that it is practical and functional. It comes with three low, medium, and high magnification eyepieces. Its operation is very user-friendly and assembly is no problem at all, making it an excellent beginner telescope. Manually adjust the field of view, and use a lever to pan across the sky.

It is only 18 pounds, so it is easy to transport. The telescope mounts on an adjustable stainless steel tripod. At full extension, the telescope will be about 5 feet high. This telescope is optimal for lunar and planetary observation, with the moon filter, and green-coated optics that make objects appear brighter.

Included with purchase is an Altazimuth mount with dual-speed slow-motion control. You will also get a beginner’s version of Deepsky Astronomy software.

Basic Features

  • Type: Refractor 
  • Aperture: 80mm (3. 15″) 
  • Focal Length: 400mm (15. 75”)
  • Mount: AZ Altazimuth Mount 
  • Eyepiece: K25mm: 16X ; K10mm: 40X; K5mm: 80X
  • Finderscope: 6*30
  •  Zenith Mirrors: 48°Erecting BAK4 prism
  • Tripod: stainless steel Tripod (adjustable)
  • Barlow lens: 3XPackage Content: 

Accessories

  • 1 x Telescope Optical Tube
  • 1 x stainless steel Tripod 
  • 3 x Eyepiece ( 25mm & 10mm & 5mm ) 
  • 1 x 6*30 Finderscope 
  • 1 x Zenith Mirrors 
  • 1 x Barlow lens 3X
  • 1 x TrayWarning!

Overview

If you are just trying out stargazing, you can buy this telescope and figure out whether you enjoy the hobby before dropping a lot of money on one of the premium scopes. The Gskyer Space Astronomical 400×80 Refractor Telescope is a reliable and commendable product.

Levenhuk SkyMatic 135 GTA Reflector Telescope

Levenhuk-Skymatic-135-GTA-Newtonian-Reflector-Telescope-with-Go-to-Function

The Levenhuk SkyMatic 135 GTA is a computerized reflector telescope. Its aperture is 5.1 inches; the focal length is 650mm; maximum magnification is 260x.

The Levenhuk SkyMatic 135 GTA is the best beginner telescope at this price point. It is easy to assemble, simple to use, and very accurate. At 26.5 pounds, it is a highly stable telescope, which contributes to high-quality imagery. However, its weight does make transportation a bit more difficult. Above-average magnification will allow you to make out more details and see crisp, clear images up-close. Observing a celestial object doesn’t require any specific knowledge since the telescope’s built-in GoTo function automatically locates the object and aims the telescope at it.

The finderscope is a useful feature that helps you direct your telescope toward an object, before fine-tuning and focusing the scope on the object. The movement is not motorized, which helps Best Telescopes for Beginners learn how to find celestial objects manually, rather than letting the computer do all the work. The SkyMatic comes with an eye-popping library of 42,900 objects.

Included with the SkyMatic is an azimuth mount and planetarium software.

Basic Features

  • Optical Design: Newtonian reflector
  • Aperture: 130mm
  • Focal Length: 650mm
  • Focal Ratio : f/5
  • Highest practical power : 260x
  • Limiting stellar magnitude : 12.6
  • Optics coating : fully multi-coated
  • Telescope control : Auto-Tracking

Overview

Overall, it’s a simple, reliable telescope for a reasonable price. The Levenhuk SkyMatic 135 GTA is available on Amazon now.

Orion 8944 SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope

Orion-8944-SkyQuest-XT6-Classic-Dobsonian-Telescope

The Orion 8944 SkyQuest XT6 is an analog telescope. Its aperture is 6 inches; the focal length is 1,200mm; magnification is 48x.

The Orion 8944 SkyQuest XT6 proves that you don’t have to sacrifice quality for an economical price. Its best-in-class Dobsonian design makes it the best non-digital telescope on the market. Its operation is quite simple and easy for a beginner to learn quickly. Despite its large size, the telescope is relatively portable to go stargazing anywhere.

It has a convenient built-in handle to assist in transport. In transit, springs hold the optical tube snugly to the base, so there is no need to re-adjust any settings you might wish to have. The jumbo-sized optics allow you to see more detail and brighter images. The Dobsonian base is extremely stable and resists vibrating and shaking.

Basic Features

  • Aperture: 6” (152 mm)
  • Focal length: 1200
  • Focal ration: f/8.0
  • Highest useful magnification: 300x
  • Weight: 34 lbs

Accessories

  • 25 mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece
  • Starry Night software
  • Collimation cap
  • 2″ Crayford focuser
  • EZ Finder II reflex sight
Pros Cons
A Dobsonian mount means you have a very, very stable viewing platform This telescope is not suited for high-definition photography.
The 6-inch aperture provides more than enough light grasp for the vast majority of stargazing needs Hard to carry around.
The Dobsonian-style mount makes tracking easy.Is heavy
Easy to assemble.Lacks the magnification factor of a more professional telescope
Has a sturdy construction. None that we can think of
Dedicated to both beginners and professional
Attractive price.

Overview

The Orion 8944 SkyQuest XT6 comes with a free version of Starry Night software, to help budding astronomers plan to observe sessions and interpret what they see. Other features include a finderscope, collimation cap, plastic feet, and 10mm and 25mm Plossl eyepieces.

Customers and critics praise this telescope’s durability and user-friendly design. And the bargain price is just the cherry on top.

Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Reflector Telescope

Orion-09007-SpaceProbe-130ST-Equatorial-Reflector-Telescope-Black-Renewed

The Orion SpaceProbe 130ST is an analog reflector telescope. Its aperture is 5.1 inches; its focal length is 650mm; its maximum magnification is 65x.

The Orion SpaceProbe 130ST is a good telescope that packs in a lot of features for a decent price. It has fantastic image quality and clarity and very smooth, low-vibration motion. The smooth operation enables small, incremental movements to fine-tune the telescope’s alignment. A center-marked primary mirror and finder scope are two useful features included to help you manually guide the scope into the correct alignment. 

The SpaceProbe is an equatorial mount telescope. That means you can adjust for the Earth’s rotation and keep a celestial object in focus night after night. The SpaceProbe delivers a wide field of view and brighter images. The lightweight means this telescope is easily portable; however, it is also susceptible to tipping or wind conditions.

The Orion SpaceProbe 130ST includes two eyepieces, 10mm, and 25mm lenses. Starry Night computer software is included which contains simulations and helpful tutorials.

Basic Features

  • Optical design: Newtonian reflector
  • Aperture: 130mm (5.1”)
  • Focal length: 650mm
  • Dimensions : 24” x 24” x 51”
  • Mount: Equatorial
  • Focal ratio: f/5.0
  • Highest useful magnification: 255x
  • Optics: Parabolic

Accessories

  • 1.25″ Plossl eyepieces : 25.0mm (26x),10.0mm (65x)
  • Aluminum tripod
  • Collimation cap
  • 6×30 finderscope
PROS CONS
Can be upgraded to have motorized tracking Plastic focuser and mount parts
Nice included accessories Mount is not as steady as a Dobsonian
EQ2 mount works well for visual use For the price, you could get a 6” Dobsonian
Decently priced Somewhat confusing assembly instruction
Portable and available Collimation for beginners
5” aperture Astrophotography is basically impossible

Overview

Overall, the Orion SpaceProbe 130ST delivers a lot of advantages, at a price that won’t bust your budget. The beginning stargazer will be excited to use this durable and remarkable telescope.

Orion StarSeeker IV 130mm GoTo Reflector Telescope

Orion-StarSeeker-IV-130mm-GoTo-Reflector-Telescope-Kit

The Orion StarSeeker IV 130mm GoTo is a computerized reflector telescope. Its aperture is 5.1 inches; its focal length is 650mm.

The Orion StarSeeker IV 130mm GoTo Reflector Telescope delivers excellent quality and performance for under $500. High-quality optics give you crisp and breathtaking images. It is a smart GoTo telescope with motorized object-location technology. But you can still move the scope manually as well, touring the stars using the hand controller.

The computer remembers the previously set alignment so you can return to it easily. The included software assists you with its database of 42,000 objects. Once you choose an object, the telescope locates and tracks it automatically.  A nifty “Tour” mode feature of the included GoTo hand controller makes it easy for any novice to explore the wonders of starry skies. Assembly is fairly easy and quick.

The StarSeeker IV GoTo mount is constructed with a slanted, single-arm altazimuth design. This enables a full 360 degrees of azimuth motion and 90 degrees of altitude motion. Point your telescope anywhere between the horizon and zenith. The telescope secures in an efficient manner to the mount and tripod without tools, enabled by a quick-release narrow dovetail saddle. The stainless steel tripod is stable and sturdy, thanks in part to the new spreader plate.

Basic Features

  • 650mm focal length
  • f/5.0 focal ratio
  • lot of light with its 5.1″ aperture
  • 21.5 lbs
Pros Cons
Computerized reflector Pricey
Large GoTo database
See planets, nebulas, star clusters and more

Overview

Overall you can expect a fantastic stargazing experience with this telescope. Best Telescopes for Beginners will love getting to know the Orion StarSeeker IV 130mm GoTo Reflector Telescope.

Celestron NexStar 90SLT Mak Computerized Telescope

Celestron NexStar 90SLT Mak Computerized Telescope (Black) with NexYZ 3-Axis Universal Smartphone Adapter

The Celestron NexStar 90SLT Mak Computerized Telescope is a compound telescope with both mirrors and lenses. Its aperture is 3.5 inches; its focal length is 1250mm; its maximum magnification is 139x.

The Celestron NexStar 90SLT Mak is an extremely compact and portable telescope, a perfect entry-level model for beginners. Consumers love the versatility of being able to use it on celestial objects as well as Earthbound objects.  Assembly takes only a matter of minutes with no tools required, thanks to preassembled, adjustable stainless steel tripods, and quick release fork arms and tubes. The NexStar 90 SLT incorporates Celestron’s patented SkyAlign technology.

It may take some practice in order for you to get comfortable using it, but in the end, it will be worth it to have the power of SkyAlign at your fingertips. With SkyAlign you don’t need a star chart or a compass to align the telescope. Simply enter the date and time then point the telescope at three bright stars. SkyAlign identifies the stars and then takes it from there. It is capable of finding 4000 objects right out of the box, but the included software expands that number to 10,000. Images are bright and clear with good detail. Two eyepieces are included, 9mm and 25mm. When looking at celestial objects in deep space, like the Pleiades cluster or the Andromeda galaxy, choose a larger eyepiece for a wider field of view.

Basic Features

  • Item number: NexStar 90SLT Mak
  • Weight: 20 pounds
  • Dimensions: 40 in. x 19 in. x 11 in.
  • Aperture: 90 mm (3.54 in.)
  • Eyepiece magnification: 50x
  • ASIN: BOO38LX8WU
  • Mount: Fork arm
  • Warranty: 2-year warranty on the telescope for damage and defects
  • Focal length: 1250mm
  • Eyepiece size: 25mm
  • Focal ratio: 14
  • Objects in database: 4,000
PROS CONS
Excellent quality opticsShort battery life
Compact, travel-friendly, and portable
Computerized go-to tracking
Features “The Sky X” planetarium software
The camera included for taking pictures
Automatic alignment

Overview

Overall, the Celestron NexStar 90SLT Mak Computerized Telescope offers terrific value and solid performance. You will enjoy touring the galaxy with the aid of your new telescope.

Celestron SkyProdigy 130 26×345 Reflector Telescope

Celestron-SkyProdigy-130-26x345-Telescope

The Celestron SkyProdigy 130 26×345 Reflector Telescope is a computerized telescope. Aperture is 5.1 inches; the focal length is 650mm; maximum magnification is 72x.

The Celestron SkyProdigy is toward the higher end of computer-operated telescopes. It is a phenomenal option for novice users because the computer-assisted operation does all of the work for you. This uniquely engineered system combines electric motors, an intelligent on-board computer, a digital camera and StarSense technology to deliver automatic, instant alignment.

It really is as simple as turning it on and pushing a button. When you first set it up, it will take three minutes to self-align, without any user input. The programmed Sky Tour points the SkyProdigy toward the most prominent visible celestial objects depending on the time of year. The telescope is quite lightweight and portable so you can take it to your favorite viewing spot. In terms of images, the SkyProdigy focuses quickly and provides extremely clear pictures and high quality.

The SkyProdigy includes The SkyX First Light Edition, which contains an objects library programmed with over 4,000 celestial objects. It also includes a motorized altazimuth mount, a sturdy stainless steel tripod, and a battery pack providing 30 hours of power.

Basic Features

  • Optical Design: Newtonian Reflector
  • Aperture :130 mm (5.12”)
  • Focal Length :650 mm (26”)
  • Focal Ratio : f/5
  • Magnification  :26x, 72x
  • Limiting Magnitude :13.1
  • Lowest Magnification :19x
  • Highest Magnification :307x
  • StarSense AutoAlign :Yes
  • Assembled Weight :18 lbs
PROS CONS
Great battery supportNot for professional use
Automate tracking optionSome people complain that the viewing field is much narrow
Include sky maps and software
Form arm mount
Comes with the finder scope

Overview

If you want to learn quickly and be engaged from day one, this is the perfect telescope for you. The Celestron SkyProdigy 130 26×345 Reflector Telescope is available now on Amazon.

iOptron 9802 SmartStar-R80 GPS Telescope (Blue)

iOptron-9802-SmartStar-R80-GPS-Telescope-Blue

The iOptron SmartStar R80 Refractor Telescope is a computerized telescope. Its aperture is 3.1 inches; its focal length is 400mm.

The iOptron SmartStar R80 Refractor Telescope is probably the cheapest computer-assisted telescope you will find on the market. It is a practical and serviceable Best Telescopes for Beginners, with solid and reliable performance. Its small aperture and low-cost optics may not be the best in their class, but they still deliver delightful views of the planets, moon, and other objects within the solar system. You can also use it to view Earthbound objects.

The telescope’s function is extremely user-friendly, both in setup and in operation. The built-in GoTo feature is intuitive and straightforward. The GoTo Nova hand controller is paired with a 5000-object database to help you navigate the sky and align the telescope properly. The whole set is surprisingly lightweight and portable. The set comes with an aluminum tripod with adjustable height control and an award-winning Cube mount.

Basic Features

  • Product Dimensions : 30 x 15 x 8 inches
  • Item Weight : 14.2 pounds
  • ASIN : B003OM3M4W
  • Item model number : 9802
  • Batteries : 8 AA batteries required.
PROS CONS
Highly portable, with short setup times The lens aperture is only 80mm, not very high
The GoToNova is very accurate at locating and tracking stars and planets Magnification levels are average
The Smart Cube mount is very easy to use The aluminum tripod is flimsy and prone to shaking
An affordable computerized telescope With the low powered optics, this is strictly for beginners
The two extra eyepieces are better quality Kelner (K) variants The controller is not the latest; it lacks USB ports and firmware upgrade options
Has 90 degrees erecting eyepiece to look at terrestrial objects as well They have used a lot of plastic in the construction

Overview

This is an excellent telescope for the stargazer shopping on a budget, looking for something durable and functional. The iOptron SmartStar R80 Refractor Telescope is available now at Amazon.

Celestron Omni XLT AZ 102 22150 Refractor Telescope

Celestron-22150-Omni-XLT-AZ-102mm-Refractor-Blue

The Celestron Omni XLT AZ 102 Refractor Telescope is an analog telescope. Its aperture is 4 inches; its focal length is 660mm.

The Celestron Omni XLT AZ 102 is a great telescope for beginners because of its portability, stability, and simplicity. No tools are needed for the easy assembly. The telescope weighs only 13.8 pounds, easy to take along to your favorite viewing spot or even on a camping trip. Images will be high in clarity and focus, but you will get the best performance when viewing objects in our local solar system.

You can also use this telescope to view Earthbound objects. The altazimuth mount is particularly sturdy and stable. You will have a flexible range of motion both vertically and horizontally. Worm gears will keep your stand and telescope in the correct position when you step away. In many telescopes, this was a drawback as the telescope would sink down several degrees after positioning it.

The Celestron Omni XLT AZ 102 is constructed of quality components. Optical components are fully coated using Celestron’s proprietary XLT coatings. This is the same type of coating found on observatory-grade telescopes, and it enables maximum light transmission and crisp views. Another great feature is the premium StarPointer Pro finderscope.

Other telescopes project red dots, which sometimes has the effect of obscuring the object you want to view. The StarPointer Pro projects a dual-circle reticle. Simply locate the celestial object of interest and position it in the middle of the circle.

Basic Features

  • Optical Design: Refractor
  • Resolution: Rayleigh- 1.37 arc seconds / Dawes Limit: 1.14 arc seconds
  • Light Gathering Power: 212x the unaided eye
  • Highest Useful Magnification: 240x
  • Lowest Useful Magnification: 15x
  • Limiting Stellar Magnitude: 12.5
  • Tripod: Aluminum, 49 Inches max-height
  • Optical Tube Length: 32 Inches
  • Total Telescope Kit Weight: 13.8 lbs

Overview

Overall, the Celestron Omni XLT AZ 102 provides excellent value. For those interested in learning the star charts by manual and analog methods, you will be engaging different parts of your brain for better learning and retention.

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