Best Telescopes for Beginners

For centuries, humanity has looked to the skies. We have let the stars guide us through uncharted waters, the sun’s rise and set dictate our days, and used the stars to determine our signs and traits. 

Telescopes have been used to do this, dating back to the sixteenth century, and have varied in size and skill but have been a constant companion for stargazers ever since their creation.

There are a whole host of reasons why you may want your first telescope. You may be interested in stargazing or wanting to catch sights of the space station or Venus. Whatever your reason, you are going to need a telescope.

Finding the best telescopes for beginners can be challenging. There are lots on the market, and with such a price range, it can be overwhelming to find the right one for you. 

But fear not, all is not lost! We have scoured the market and found the best telescopes for beginners! We have even included a handy buyer’s guide and FAQ section to help you navigate the world of telescopes. 

Top Pick: 

In a hurry? Check out our top pick to grab your telescope and spot an asteroid!

OUR TOP PICK

Celestron - NexStar 6SE Telescope - Computerized Telescope for Beginners and Advanced Users - Fully-Automated GoTo Mount - SkyAlign Technology - 40,000 plus Celestial Objects - 6-Inch Primary Mirror

Celestron’s telescope may have a hefty price tag, but once you see all of its features, you will understand why! 

The computerized telescope features the latest technology and features for fantastic stargazing for beginners and more experienced observers. 

It features a 6-inch aperture, which, when used with the six-inch primary mirror, packs enough light-gathering ability to observe the best of our Solar System while retaining a compact form factor. 

This Cassegrain telescope features fantastic visuals but is a little hefty, weighing 30lbs when assembled. 

The telescope has a fully automated go-to mount, which features a database of more than 40,000 celestial objects. The mount can track and locate objects with ease, allowing you to enjoy the visuals simply.

Celestron’s telescope is easy to assemble and break down thanks to its single fork arm design. The tripod is made from steel and breaks down into separate components. 

The telescope features Skyalign technology allowing your telescope to be aligned and ready to go in minutes.

You also get a free download of one of the best-rated astronomy software programs on the market, which provides you with an interactive sky simulation!

Great for those wanting to use this telescope as an education tool! 

You get an impressive two-year warranty and unlimited access to US-based technical support with this telescope, too, so you are covered no matter what happens! 

Customers raved about the fast setup and fantastic image quality; check the reviews for stunning pictures other customers took!

It’s a sturdy telescope and an excellent option for those who have a bigger budget to invest in a great telescope. 

Pros: 

  • Easy to assemble and break down.
  • Starry night software is included for free.
  • You get a two-year warranty and unlimited access to technical support.
  • The telescope uses the latest technology for stargazing. 
  • Can track and locate objects for you.

Con:

  • expensive

More time to browse? Check out our other great options below. 

EDITORS CHOICE

Gskyer Telescope, 70mm Aperture 400mm AZ Mount Astronomical Refracting Telescope for Kids Beginners - Travel Telescope with Carry Bag, Phone Adapter and Wireless Remote

For those after a telescope with lots of handy accessories, this is the one for you! Gskyer’s telescope is reasonably priced and comes with a carry bag, phone adapter, and a wireless remote!

The telescope features a 400mm focal length and 70mm aperture for good quality images.

The lenses are fully coated with a high transmission coating to create stunning images while also protecting your eyes. It’s an excellent telescope for those wanting to view the stars and the moon. 

It comes with two replaceable eyepieces and one 3X Barlow lens, which will treble the magnifying power of each eyepiece, allowing you to see stunning details! 

The 5x24 finder scope comes with a mounting bracket and cross-hair lines, helping locate objects with ease. No more hunting for the big Dipper now! 

The wireless camera remote allows you to explore the world easily, and when your smartphone is docked into the adaptor, take photographs of your view remotely.

Gskyer’s telescope features an adjustable tripod, which provides you with a range of viewing points. The tripod is made of lightweight and durable aluminum, so you won’t need to worry about it breaking! 

Some customers found the tripod a little unstable when using it and that the focus could be knocked out of place a little. Not all customers had this issue, so be sure to flag this with customer service if it happens to you!

It even comes with a carry bag that can comfortably fit the tripod and the telescope, making it great for traveling, and storing. 

What’s great about this telescope is Gskyer offers a lifetime of maintenance should anything happen to your telescope! Their excellent customer service is also on hand, offering you a response within 24 hours! 

Customers enjoyed the quality of the images the telescope produced, with many of them shocked to receive such high quality for a low cost. They also praised how easy it was to assemble. 

For those after a reasonably priced telescope that will deliver stunning images without breaking the bank, this is the one for you! 

Pros:

  • Decently priced
  • It comes with a carry bag, phone adapter, and a wireless remote.
  • Fully coated lenses 
  • Adjustable tripod
  • Lifetime maintenance with the manufacturer.

Con:

  • Some customers found the tripod unstable at times.

BEST VALUE

Astronomical Telescope 150X Beginner Professional Stargazing Astronomical Telescope, with high-Definition, with a Tripod, can be Connected to Mobile Phones (Free Solar Film)

At a reasonable price, Astronomical Telescope is an excellent option for budding stargazers and astronomers alike! 

The telescope features high-quality optical components to make understanding the night sky a crystal clear breeze! It features a fully multi-layered coated optical glass that boasts a focal length of 400mm. 

It also has an aperture of 70mm, and high transmittance to provide excellent images while also protecting your eyes for comfortable and clear viewing.

There is a solar film as well, which protects your eyes when observing the sun. It’s an excellent telescope for those wanting to see more of the moon and stars. 

The telescope comes with three 1.25inch interchangeable eyepieces, H6mm, H20mm, and F12mm, which can shoot at 50X, 15X, and 30X, respectively. These give you a range of magnifications for a great view of the skies. 

The viewfinder makes object positioning easy too, and the diagonal prism can acquire upright images. 

What’s great about this telescope is it comes with a smartphone adapter allowing you to share what you see through your phone’s camera to family, friends, and social media.

Some customers found the adapter a little flimsy, so be sure to take care when using it! It’s worth noting this was only a small minority. 

The telescope comes with a retractable tripod with three adjustable heights to make viewing more convenient for you.

It’s a great telescope to travel with too, and we think it would make a fantastic gift for anyone wanting to explore the skies! 

Pros:

  • Reasonably priced
  • It has high-quality optical components for excellent image quality.
  • High magnification levels 
  • Smartphone adapter for real-time sharing 
  • Adjustable height tripod.

Con:

  • Some customers found the phone adapter flimsy.

RUNNER UP

AOMEKIE Telescope for Kids Adults Astronomy Beginners 70mm Refractor Telescopes with Tripod Phone Adapter Finderscope 1.5X Erecting Eyepiece 3X Barlow Lens

For those after an affordable telescope for beginners, AOMEKIE’s telescope could be the one for you! 

The 70mm telescope features an impressive 300mm focal length and 70mm aperture, which will capture more light pictures than its competitors!

The optical glass is coated to provide an enhanced image brightness while protecting your eyes. 

You get an impressive 15-150X magnification with this telescope too! There are two replaceable eyepieces (15X and 50X), a 6mm eyepiece for 50X, 20mm piece for 15X, 1.5X erecting eyepiece increase 1.5X magnification, 3X Barlow, and a finderscope with mounting bracket and erect image dialogue. With all of these impressive extras, you will be able to locate and view objects easily. 

The telescope also comes with a smartphone adapter to observe from your phone. Some customers found that the adapter was not the best quality and that when in use, it felt a little flimsy and impacted the telescope's positioning.

Not everyone noted this issue, so be sure to contact customer support for some advice if this happens to you!

It also features a star target planisphere, which helps you know various stars, great for introducing children to astronomy! Why not take some time and have evening classes showing your children the stars?

What’s great about this telescope is how easy it is to assemble, fantastic if you are buying for a child! There are no tools required to build, and the lightweight tripod can be put together in minutes.

The tripod is made from durable aluminum, providing longevity, and generally, the tripod can take a bit of a bashing. 

The tripod is also adjustable by 90 degrees vertically and 360 degrees horizontally. The omnidirectional observation allows you to view the sky better, great for seeing everything you want to see with this telescope.

AOMEKIE offers an impressive 18-month warranty, so should anything happen, you are in very safe hands!

There is also a 100% refund and return guarantee should you encounter a quality problem with your telescope; their customer service is out of this world!

Customers enjoyed how easy this telescope was to use and assemble and the sturdiness of the tripod.

This is an excellent telescope for those who do not want to spend too much but still have great quality images and good magnifying abilities. 

Pros:

  • Affordable 
  • No tools required for assembly 
  • Comes with 1.5X erecting eyepiece and 3X Barlow lens
  • 18-month warranty 
  • The adjustable telescope allows for a better view of the sky.

Con:

  • Phone holder, not the best quality.

RUNNER UP

Celestron - 70mm Travel Scope - Portable Refractor Telescope - Fully-Coated Glass Optics - Ideal Telescope for Beginners - BONUS Astronomy Software Package

Another great option from Celestron, but at a much lower price point, is their beginner telescope!

This telescope is fantastic for traveling and even comes with a handy travel backpack and lots of excellent features. 

The telescope features a 70mm travel scope with high-quality, fully-coated glass optics to deliver fantastic visuals.

You also get a large 70mm objective lens, which provides enhanced and brighter views than their 50mm model. Great for those who are after outstanding images! 

The telescope itself is very lightweight, weighing just 3.3lbs, and the travel backpack makes traveling with this telescope a breeze! It is also effortless to set up, giving you more time to observe the night sky. 

What’s great about this telescope is the free software Celestron offers with it.

You get a free download of one of the most popular and highly rated astronomy software on the market, allowing you to take your stargazing to another level! 

Celestron has not only covered you with the software but with outstanding customer support too!

They offer a two-year warranty on their telescope and unlimited access to their US-based team of experts that make up their customer support. It’s no surprise that they are the number one telescope brand in the world! 

Some customers found the steel mount to be unstable on time and shake on time. Some customers swapped it out for their tripod, but we would recommend flagging the issue with customer service if it happens to you! Not all customers reported this issue, though. 

Customers loved the images’ quality of the images with this telescope, especially for a beginner level telescope and its low price.

The telescope is designed for beginners and children, so those after a good quality telescope to introduce astronomy to children should look no further than this!

Pros:

  • Decently priced 
  • Large 70mm fully coated lens 
  • It has a two-year warranty and unlimited access to technical support. 
  • Comes with a carry bag, tripod, and free software. 
  • Powerful eyepieces provide up-close viewing.

Con:

  • Some customers found the tripod unstable at times.

Best Telescopes for Beginners Buying Guide

Not sure what features your perfect telescope should have? Our buyer’s guide can help you there! 

Type

Refractor

A refractor telescope is the most popular telescope on the market, with most of our list being refractors. They are lightweight, easy to set up, and usually easy to use. 

A refractor telescope will offer sharp views and needs little to no maintenance, making it an excellent option for beginners! 

They usually come with interchangeable eyepieces that provide a range of magnifications, which will increase the capacity of viewable objects. 

These telescopes are often very easy to transport, with many coming with their carry bags! However, to get great views, you will want a big aperture, which can become an expensive process. 

There are affordable options within refractor telescopes, and they are easy to use for beginners or professionals alike, which is why our guide today is full of these beauties! 

Reflectors 

Reflector telescopes feature an open tube at the front and a round mirror at the tube’s bottom. Light is reflected onto a smaller angled mirror in the tube and out through the telescope’s side, where an interchangeable eyepiece sits.

You get much larger apertures than you would with a refractor telescope, with some available up to 500mm in diameter! A popular way to use a reflector telescope is by mounting the telescope on a rotating base that sits on the floor, different from the ones we have seen earlier! 

These telescopes can be heavy and bulky and not always the best for transportation. Some even need a stepladder to view high objects! Not ideal, but a good option for those who want an uncompromised view of the sky. 

Cassegrains 

Cassegrains are similar to refractor telescopes by using interchangeable eyepieces to view the sky. They are usually heavier telescopes with a shorter view length, offering a more compact style for your telescope. 

You often have to tweak these telescopes to keep them aligned correctly, perhaps not ideal for the beginning astronomers. Cassegrains do offer a more magnified lens, great for viewing the moon. 

The views are not as sharp as refractor lenses; they are a popular choice for many as a middle ground between aperture and manageable size. Often these are purchased with electronic tracking mounts to follow targets as they move. 

Size matters

When it comes to the size of your telescope, this may be the case. To get better views, you will want a larger aperture to capture as much image as possible. 

In the world of telescopes, bigger is better. This does not mean you need to erect your Hubble telescope in your garden. But looking for a telescope, pay attention to the size of the aperture. Generally, any less than 90mm will provide wider views of the night sky (50-70mm is a good spot). 

Larger refractors are great for viewing deep-sky objects, such as galaxies, and can offer surface colors and details on far off planets such as Saturn or Jupiter. Think about what you want to view with your telescope when deciding which size refractor to purchase. 

Added extras

When buying a telescope, especially for a beginner, you want to make sure they have everything they need to begin their new hobby. Generally, the telescope will come with a tripod or mount to set up the telescope and magnify different lenses. 

You can get extras such as smartphone adaptors allowing you to photograph, film, and stream your findings. If you have a DSLR camera, you can remove the camera lens and use the telescope itself as a tense, although you will need an adaptor ring to do this. 

It may be worth considering a travel bag or case if your telescope does not come with one. A case is an excellent option for those intending to travel with their telescope or looking for secure storage. 

How much?

The price of a telescope can range dramatically, with some costing as much as a small car! Don’t let that put you off, though! There is still a telescope out there to suit every budget. 

It is worth having a clear budget in mind while searching for your telescope and sticking to it as much as possible. Keep an eye out for any sales or flash deals to grab a bargain!

When setting your budget, it is worth considering what features you would like your telescope to have and ensuring your budget will cover them. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Any last-minute questions? Why not get them answered below!

What is aperture?

It’s listed on every telescope’s description, but what does it mean? Aperture refers to the diameter of the primary lens or mirror. It is an essential feature for gathering light and seeing detail.

Larger apertures collect more light, allowing you to see fainter objects like galaxies or smaller features on a solid body like the craters on the moon. 

Gordon Watts
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