There is no question that stargazing is one of the best hobbies that exist, it can be a fun pass time and an enjoyable experience.
There is something that is incredibly fascinating about the universe outside of the World that we live in, and stargazing is one of the few ways that we can actually access it.
While you can simply walk outside during the night time to stargaze, the experience is made one hundred times better when you use a telescope. Suddenly you get a clearer view of the world outside of our own, and can see individual stars up close or whole constellations from afar.
You may have considered taking up stargazing before but been put off by the price of a telescope. We totally understand that the prices of some telescopes are excessive, which is why we’re here to help.
While they are more difficult to find, there are a huge amount of telescopes on the market for people with a limited budget. With that in mind, we’ve put together this handy guide to the best telescopes under $100.
We’ve also included a buyer’s guide to help alleviate some of the concerns you may have about purchasing a budget telescope.
So with no further ado, let’s take a look at the different options that are on offer.
In a hurry?
We’ve ranked this telescope the best on the market because it is excellent value for money, and comes with lots of great features, including:
- The best focal length we could find on a budget telescope with 360mm focal length and 70mm aperture.
- It's incredibly versatile design allows you to use this device for wildlife watching as well as stargazing.
- No tool quick setup with an easy to use adjustable tripod for a stress-free stargazing experience.
OUR TOP PICK
Our favorite telescope for under $100 is the ECOOPRO Telescope for Beginners. This has the longest focal length of the budget telescopes we could find, and also has a 70mm aperture for a clear image.
It comes with a high-quality optical lens for crisp images and includes a variety of eyepieces that can be used to increase the magnification of the device.
With no tools required to set up the telescope or its handy tripod, this versatile device can be used for bird-watching, observing nature, and, of course, looking at the stars.
With a 5x24 finderscope which makes locating objects easy, there’s no doubt that this is one of the best options on the market.
- 360mm focal length and 70mm aperture for a clear image through the telescope
- High-quality optical glass creates crisp images with brightness and clarity
- Includes a variety of eyepieces which can be used to create better magnification
- No tool quick set up with an adjustable tripod for ease of use
- This versatile device can be used for bird watching, viewing wildlife, and astrology
- 5x24 finderscope helps you locate objects in the sky much faster
- No notable drawbacks
Another excellent option is the ADMEKIE Telescope for Astronomy Beginners.
This was a close runner-up to the product before it as it comes with a 300mm focal length and a 70mm aperture which is also capable of creating great images.
This device has magnification options between 15-150X which can be achieved using the various accessories included, it also has a 5x24 finderscope which makes finding objects easy.
It has a star target planisphere which can be used to identify stars in the sky, and a smartphone adaptor that allows you to use your phone’s screen to view the images.
With all of these features and its lightweight design, there’s no doubt that this is one of the best options available.
- 300mm focal length and 70mm aperture for a lighter picture
- Magnification between 15-150X using the included accessories and attachments
- 5x24 finderscope helps you locate objects in the night sky much faster
- Smartphone adaptor makes it easier to observe through your cell phone
- Star Target planisphere helps you identify the various stars in the solar system
- Lightweight and durable build allows you to take this device on the go
- No notable drawbacks
We also love the MaxUSee 70mm Refractor Telescope. This is another great option for beginners as it’s 70mm aperture lens allows you to see clear and bright images.
With a 5x24 finderscope which makes locating objects easy and a magnification range between 16-200X, this is a great gateway into astrology.
This device comes with a variety of lenses and is easy to carry should you want to take it on the go with you. It also comes with an incredibly durable tabletop tripod which makes using this telescope easy.
With all this in mind, it’s clear that this is one of the best options on the market.
- Wide range of magnification options between 16X-200X
- 70mm Aperture lens for brighter and clearer images
- 5x24 Finderscope can locate objects easier and much faster
- Comes with a variety of lenses (including H6mm, H12.5mm, H20mm, and K25mm)
- Excellent for beginners
- Easy to carry and quick to set up with a durable tabletop tripod
- The instructions are not clear
You should also consider the Gskyer 60mm Refractor Telescope. This device comes with a decent focal length of 350mm and has a 60mm aperture which is capable of producing clear images.
It comes with two interchangeable eyepieces and an additional Barlow lens to improve your viewing experience.
Additionally, it has a 5x24 finderscope which can be really helpful when looking for stars in the night. The telescope comes with its own tripod, and also a carry bag that can easily fit the tripod and telescope in it.
With its sleek appearance and cost-effective price tag, this is definitely one of the best budget telescopes that money can buy.
- 350mm focal length and 60mm aperture for bright and clear images
- Two interchangeable eyepieces with a 3X Barlow lens for viewing
- 5x24 finderscope helps you locate objects in the night sky
- Comes with a tripod, and a carry bag which can carry both the tripod and telescope
- Cost-effective and the perfect option for beginners
- Sleek and stylish appearance
- Set up instructions are difficult to follow
Finally, another great option is the Zhummel 60mm Refractor Telescope.
This device differs from the others on this list, as it comes with a red dot finderscope rather than the 5x24 finderscope which can be found on the other devices.
It also comes with a variety of different accessories, including a 1.25inch focuser which can be used to improve your stargazing experience.
This device requires no tools to set it up and comes with both a sturdy mount and a full-height aluminum tripod which are incredibly easy to use.
With all of its wonderful features and excellent ease of use, there’s no doubt that this is one of the best telescopes under $100 available.
- Red dot finderscope makes locating objects easy
- Sturdy mount with a full-height aluminum tripod for ease of use
- Comes with lots of accessories including a 1.25-inch focuser
- No tool assembly for easy set up that allows you to use the device quicker
- A great option for beginners and a gateway into astrology
- Increase the magnification through the use of 2x Barlow lens included
- Good quality for beginners, poor for more advanced astrologers
Best Telescope Under 100 Buying Guide
Finding the right telescope for you can be difficult, even more so when you find yourself on a budget. The best telescopes, as you will expect, will be a lot more pricey, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t get a great telescope for less than $100.
The key to finding the best telescope for your limited budget lies in research, which is why it is so important that you know exactly what to look for in a telescope.
The options that we have already looked at in this guide are some of the best budget telescopes available, but we’ve also put together this buyer’s guide to help you in your search. So if you want to find out more about what you should look for in a telescope, keep reading.
Optics of the Telescope
A key part of any telescope is its optics. This is a key part of enabling you to see through the telescope and plays an essential role in being able to see long distances. For a lot of people, their concerns with buying a cheaper telescope surround the optics of the device.
So this is definitely an area where you should pay particular attention when looking for a telescope under $100.
Low-quality optics will significantly limit the ability of the telescope as they compromise the ability of the telescope’s scope. As its part in the device’s name suggests, the scope is essential to being able to see things through your telescope and low-quality optics limit its ability.
That being said, high-quality optics are usually incredibly expensive as these are one of the features which drive the price point of telescopes up. This makes it incredibly difficult to balance.
The main issue with low-quality optics is that they produce poor quality images due to lack of clarity, which is annoying as clarity is a key part of astrology. That being said, not all budget telescopes will come with poor optics.
The products that we looked at above all include excellent quality optics for the price of the telescope. But it is worth noting that optics is one of the problem areas of many budget telescopes.
The aperture of the Telescope
Another area you should consider when looking at budget telescopes is the aperture of the device. Cheaper telescopes tend to come with larger apertures which are more likely to let more light into the telescope.
This is actually a good thing, as most distant objects are difficult to see because of limited light. With a larger aperture, you are more likely to see these objects in the night sky in much greater detail.
The aperture of your telescope is also important as it relates directly to the F ratio of the device. The F ratio is the length of the tube of the telescope compared to its aperture.
The F ratio is a key measurement when looking at the ability of your telescope to focus, something which is very important when you are trying to capture images of distant stars and planets.
When it comes to the F ratio, generally the answer is the bigger the better, If your ratio is small, the images that the telescope captures will not be that great. They will likely be of poor quality and blurry, which is exactly what you don’t want when you are buying a telescope.
Once again, the key to buying a budget telescope that does not have a poor F ratio lies in researching the product before you make a purchase.
Mount and Accessories
Finally, if you are looking to buy a telescope for under $100 you should consider the attachments that will come with your telescope.
In general, most telescopes will come with a mount and a couple of other accessories, however, the quality of these attachments is debatable when you buy a telescope that costs less than $100.
Pretty much every telescope that you purchase will come with a mount. This is the device that allows you to use the telescope without having to hold it in your hands, and for many people, it is an essential part of the purchase.
Unfortunately, if you manage to find an excellent telescope for less than $100, it will likely come with a poor quality mount. However, while the mount is an essential part of the telescope, you do not need a fancy mount to be able to use it successfully.
All you need is a stable mount that can hold the telescope steady and produce no vibration when you capture images with the telescope. You also will not need a massive mount, in fact, some of the best telescope mounts are much smaller, so you should bear this in mind when making a purchase.
Let’s also talk about the accessories quickly. While it might be tempting to choose a telescope that comes with lots of different accessories, you should not choose accessories over the optical ability of the device.
If a budget telescope comes with a huge amount of accessories, the chances are that the telescope does not have great optics which is why they are compensating with lots of accessories. So when you are buying a telescope, you should not let yourself be swayed by the accessories.
While it might seem better value for money if the telescope comes with lots of extra attachments. The chances are that the quality of the telescope itself is poor which is why the company can afford to give you all these accessories at such a low price.
Of all the accessories available, you should prioritize a telescope that comes with a mount as this is a key part of astrology.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a good focal length for a telescope?
If you are not limited by a budget, the best focal length for a telescope is anything between 1000 and 1200mm. If you are new to astrology and don’t know what the focal length is, this is essentially the length of the telescope.
The focal length of the telescope is measured from the main optic to the part of the telescope where the image is formed and plays an essential part in image size. Generally, you should look for a longer focal length if you want to get a better image.
A shorter focal length will provide a wider field of view, but the objects with the image will appear a lot smaller than if you used a longer focal length.
Are there different types of telescopes?
Yes, there are different types of telescopes which you probably have noticed when you have looked to buy one. Although there are lots of different telescopes available, they all belong to two main groups: refractor and reflector telescopes.
The group to which the telescope belongs to is determined by the part of the telescope which captures the light. A refractor telescope uses the glass lens as its objective, whereas a reflector telescope uses the mirror as its objective, and this is the main difference between the two types.
Can you see the flag on the moon through a telescope?
Yes, the flag that was planted on the moon during the first space expedition can still be found on the moon. But you will not be able to see it through a telescope.
Due to the minute size of the flag, you would need to have a massive telescope to be able to see it on the moon, and a telescope of this size simply does not exist. So while the flag is still there you won’t be able to see it yourself unless you look at photographs of it on the internet.