From the days of Galileo to late night stargazing with your loved one in 2020, a telescope can help open your eyes and your heart to beautiful things. Stargazing is not only romantic, but it also broadens our horizons. Whether you want to get a good look at the night sky or want to get more involved in learning about astronomy, a beginner telescope can help you spot the best stars in the night sky. From the moon to the planets to the millions and billions of stars, you can start learning about the sky above you with the best beginner telescope.
- Orion 10016 StarBlast 6
- Celestron NexStar 5 SE
- Gskyer EQ901000
- Orion 10015 StarBlast
- Instruments Meade Infinity
- DoubleSun AZ telescope
- Celestron AstroMaster 90
- Looking beyond – why you need a beginner’s telescope
- Knowing your main star – types of telescopes
- Maintenance tips for beginners
- Focal length and ratio
- Our verdict
The products in our guide all come at a price. Whether you’re on a budget or have little money to spend on observing the night sky above you, all of these telescopes have what it takes to help you get the view you’ve been wanting all along. In this review, not only will we highlight all the features that make a quality telescope, such as type, aperture, length and focus ratio, maximum magnification, weight and warranty, but we’ll also help you make that decision with our buying guide that will tell you which one is best for you.
After all our hours of research, we’ve put together a comparison chart, detailed reviews of each product and a buying guide to help you choose not only the best telescope for beginners, but also the best telescope for you.
The 7 best telescopes for beginners
Orion 10016 StarBlast 6
For the perfect beginner telescope, the Orion 10016 StarBlast is a great choice that is not only fun and easy to use, it uses a simple tabletop reflector telescope that can be perfect for the astronomy beginner.
With its versatile performance and substantial 6″ aperture reflector optics, you can see planets and moons in great detail, as well as all the nebulae, galaxies and star clusters you’re looking for.
Its tabletop design makes it extremely portable, weighing in at just 23.5 pounds. As mentioned, it’s also easy to use, but it’s also easy to set up with a pre-assembled situation and set down without a problem.
When you buy the Orion 10016 StarBlast, you also get Sirius Plossl 1.25″ 25mm and 10mm telescope eyepieces, an EZ Finder II sighting device, an eyepiece holder, Starry Night software and a few other things.
This telescope has a red dot sighting which makes sighting the telescope extremely easy for beginners. With this alignment procedure, you can use the StarBlast Orion 10016 to point at any celestial body in the sky.
You can switch from a low power view to a high power view to focus on the object in question.
- 750 mm (f/5)
- 23.5 lbs
- Limited to one year
- wooden tripod, altazimuth mount, EZ Finder II
Celestron NexStar 5 SE
The Celestron NexStar 5 SE is the perfect telescope for beginners. With its orange tube and easy-to-use construction, it is not only lightweight (only 17 pounds), but also has all the latest features for an optimal stargazing experience.
With a 130mm (5 inch) aperture, you’ll have a great light-gathering experience at an affordable price that will fit your beginner stargazing budget. With the 2-year limited warranty, you can enjoy 40,000 celestial objects with the StarPointer finderscope. Even as a beginner, you can get impressive views of the moon, planets, nebulae and more.
Even better for beginners, the fully automated GoTo mount with a database of over 40,000 celestial objects automatically locates and tracks objects for you.
The design of the Celestron NexStar 5 SE is also very practical, with its fork arm and sturdy steel tripod. You can take it with you wherever you go for stargazing, as it comes in several parts
It is also designed with a built-in wedge that can help you keep up with long exposures. The removable secondary mirror is also an important part of the design.
- 1250 mm (f/10)
- 17.6 lbs
- Limited to 2 years
- StarPointer finderscope, over 40,000 celestial objects stored, alt-azimuth motorized mount, GoTo capable
The Gskyer EQ901000 comes with a 1 year warranty to guarantee your purchase. With unparalleled clarity that you won’t get anywhere else, this is a great tool for beginners who want to find out what’s on top.
As easy to assemble as it is to use, it’s even easier to set up and use. You can bring distant objects as close as if they were right in front of you with the naked eye.
The Gskyer EQ901000 uses a 90 mm aperture and a focal length of 1000 mm. You can easily adjust the field of view and make it as wide or as focused as you like.
The Gskyer EQ901000 is also equipped with three different eyepieces, one of 25 mm, one of 10 mm and one of 5 mm. You can choose the options you need, especially if you want a higher magnification. You can start with 600x magnification with this device and even increase it if you need to.
This telescope also comes with an advanced EQ equatorial mount, allowing you to point and look as you please. Not only will you receive the product with your purchase, but you will also receive a backpack, three eyepiece objectives; 25mm, 10mm and 5mm, 3 x Barlow lens, tripod, mount and soft case.
- 1000 mm (f/11.1)
- 24 lbs
- Limited to one year
- 6*30 finder range, tool-free, adjustable tripod
Orion 10015 StarBlast
The Orion 10015 StarBlast is a quality reflector telescope that is not only portable in design but also compact and easy to carry.
It is ideal for transport, but still has fantastic features such as a 4.5 inch aperture and f/4 focus ratio, both of which are perfect for sharp, bright views of the night sky. It is also simple to assemble as the pre-assembly in the package is easy to do.
The stable base of the stage makes it much easier to follow astronomical objects as they rotate across the sky. You can also take advantage of the Explorer II telescope’s two 1.25 inch Kellner eyepieces for easy viewing.
The Orion 10015 StarBlast comes with an eyepiece holder, cover and starry night astronomy software, making it a complete package for beginners. The reflector telescope comes with several additional features such as astronomy software, which is perfect for helping beginners get started and is simple enough for kids to use.
Best of all, you can count on the StarBlast Orion 10015 to have everything you need.
- 450 mm (f4.0)
- 13 lbs
- Limited to one year
- stable table stand, Explorer II 1.25 inch Kellner eyepiece
Instruments Meade Infinity
The Meade Instruments Infinity is one of the lightest telescopes on the market for beginners, weighing only 12 pounds. The Meade Instruments Infinity comes with a one-year limited warranty and has great features for a complete package.
You get everything you need with this product order. Not only do you get three eyepieces included with your purchase, but you also get an Altazimuth mount so you can set it up and see as much as you want.
To see the night sky the way you want to, the Meade Instruments Infinity 102mm (4″) Refractor Telescope provides bright, detailed images that are perfect for observing terrestrial and celestial objects. So if you are a beginner looking for that beautiful celestial body in the sky, this telescope works well.
The Altazimuth mount moves in slow motion with its controls, allowing you to easily track celestial objects moving across the night sky in real time. You can also switch between low, medium and high magnification so you can see what you really want to see, whether it’s the moon, planets or the earth.
The Meade Instruments Infinity Telescope also comes with AutoStar Suite Astronomer Edition software, which will help you learn about the night sky with over 10,000 celestial objects, including planets, stars, galaxies and nebulae.
- 600 mm (f/5.9)
- 12 lbs
- Limited to one year
- 3 eyepieces included, Altazimuth mount, comes pre-mounted
DoubleSun AZ telescope
The DoubleSun AZ is an affordable telescope that is the perfect entry-level product on a budget. It has a 60mm aperture and a focal length of 700mm, as well as a focus ratio of f/5.7.
The green-coated, multi-coated glass optics are perfect for delivering increased image brightness and protecting your eyes when enjoying the night sky. With your order of the DoubleSun AZ telescope, you will also receive a 1.25-inch 10mm smartphone eyepiece adapter for taking photos and videos.
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The Altazimuth mount with idle control is ideal for shake-free tracking, and the adjustable aluminum alloy tripod allows you to track its movement day and night.
The DoubleSun AZ telescope has been designed and manufactured with fully coated green glass optical components, so you’ll get high transmission and better image brightness and clarity.
Perfect for a beginner, you’ll have all the accessories and packaging you need to get started. With a high power eyepiece, low power eyepiece, adjustable tripod and fine adjustment control for easy panning, you’ll have everything you need.
It’s one of the lightest telescopes in its class, weighing just 2.5kg.
Celestron AstroMaster 90
The Celestron 21063 AstroMaster 90 is one of the best amateur products on the market. Designed as a perfect starter telescope, you’ll have the complete observing platform to make detailed observations of anything you might want to check out from the sky.
The Celestron 21063 AstroMaster 90 is designed with a complete package – from the 1000mm focal length to the f/11.1 focus ratio, the telescope is loaded with high quality features, such as fully multi-coated optics, a 1.25″ Focuser, 10mm and 20mm eyepieces, an alto azimuth manual mount, a locking control handle and a 90° straight image diagonal. You can also track and locate anything you want to see with the built-in, permanently mounted Red-Dot Finder.
Every part of the Celestron 21063 AstroMaster 90 is supported by and rests on a 1.25″ stainless steel tripod with a tray. The manual alt-azimuth mount altitude lock clutch and adjustable pan-axial tension knob can help users track objects with minimal or no vibration.
Don’t worry about installation either, as it is so easy to use and mount on the fly. Although it’s a bit heavier (20 pounds), it’s still light enough to carry around easily.
- 1000 mm (f/11.1)
- 20 lbs
- Limited to 2 years
- alt-azimuth mount, stainless steel tripod
Looking beyond – why you need a beginner’s telescope
If you’ve never done anything like this before, you’ll want to know the best way to observe the night sky and that’s with a beginner’s telescope. The specificity of the fact that these products are designed for beginners can make a huge difference in the short and long term, as they are best suited for those who are learning now and want their first experience of the night sky.
Not only do these products fit your budget, but they also vary in aperture and f-ratio, as well as other features that can help you decide which one best fits the description you are looking for.
Knowing your main star – types of telescopes
However, before you buy, it is best if you know a little about the history of certain types of scopes and the information you might need to get the one that is right for you.
To help you, here are the different types of telescopes:
Refractor telescopes: Like the GskyerEQ901000 , this type of telescope is the cheapest on the market. Their price is low because they are basic in design and their features are simple. They normally use the lens as the objective to form an image, which is simple to understand. If you want a type of telescope that offers little or no maintenance, this type is for you. However, they are usually quite heavy and cannot view images in as much detail.
Reflector telescopes: These telescopes use curved mirrors to form the image you want to see of the sky to your eyes. You will need this type of telescope if you want to be able to see deeper objects in the sky and if you need high quality images. However, if you are going to order this telescope, you should be aware that it will require much more maintenance than other low-power telescopes.
Catadioptric telescopes: Want the best of both worlds? Well, these types of telescopes are reflectors and refractors, which use not only lenses but also mirrors to create an image. You can get a Schmidt-Cassegrain or a Maksutov-Cassegrain, which is much thicker and smaller than the Schmidt-Cassegrain.
Maintenance tips for beginners
Once you have bought your telescope, you will want to know how best to maintain and care for it – to do this, these tips can help you maintain your telescope for beginners:
You can also use pressurised air to spray the surface of the glass to remove any dusty air particles. Top it off with an optical cleaning solution, and most of the debris will also be removed.
Always keep the lens covered when the telescope is not in use, as this will protect it from scratches, dirt and dust. Of course, you won’t be able to completely remove all the dirt from the telescope, but the more you can, the better.
Absolutely avoid storing your telescope in a hot place like the car, store it in a safe and cool place that protects it from moisture, dust and accidents.
Especially since astronomy isn’t exactly the cheapest hobby, you won’t want to break the bank just by buying a telescope. So make sure the price is within your budget.
Some telescopes can cost less than 100 euros, but most of them are aimed at children and extreme beginners.
However, the most beginner scopes, including those on this list, will be in the €300 to €800 price range. However, if you are considering buying a telescope, you might as well know in advance what you are going to invest in.
A lightweight, portable telescope, like the ones in this guide, will also be a little cheaper for your budget.
Features to consider when buying the perfect telescope for beginners
Before you buy, it’s important to consider a few features that can help you distinguish the best from the rest.
Here are some of the features of the best telescopes on the market:
This may be a very foreign concept to you. Aperture, however, although you may never have heard of the term, is a very important concept. The aperture is one of the most important parts of the telescope – it is the diameter measured between the mirror and the lens of the model. It is important to know this, as it makes a difference to the amount of light that shines on the image and the sharpness of the image.
This can make a huge difference as it is consistent with the power of the telescope and the clarity of the image, regardless of the distance to the object. Unfortunately, most people think that larger telescopes are always better, but this is simply not the case. Larger means a higher price and a larger construction.
The aperture you want is based on what you want to see and how bright or dark the sky around it is. If you have a larger aperture, you will be able to get a lot of starlight, which will allow you to see much fainter objects. However, especially for a beginner, you may not need such a large aperture.
Focal length and ratio
When you hear the word “focus” in relation to a telescope, you might think that this is the most important feature. If you have a longer focal length, you will be able to see celestial objects in a much larger aspect.
The Celestron NexStar 5 SE is one of the longest focal length telescopes in our guide today at 1250mm. However, you will also notice that the majority of these telescopes will have an average focal length of around 700 to 1000 mm.
Also, when you think of a telescope, the term “magnification” may cross your mind. This is because you will want to have the object in situ as magnified as possible – and the ability to do so.
To look at the magnification of telescopes, we will need to focus on two different terms: focal length and light spot. Both of these elements play a decisive role in the overall magnification of the lens.
However, contrary to popular belief, magnification does not always mean a clearer image. It is possible to magnify an object and make it much larger than it would normally be in your lens, but the quality is not always the best.
The eyepiece of the telescope also plays an important role in magnification. The focal length of the telescope and the eyepiece are the two components that determine this final figure.
After checking all the possible details of the magnification and focal lengths, the mount is another determining factor of a telescope.
Like most of the telescopes offered here, such as the Celestron 21063, the AstroMaster 90 is alt-azimuth. The type of mount will be the most important system that will help determine the movement of the telescope and the smoothness with which it moves when tracking a celestial object.
For example, an altazimuth or alt-azimuth mount will move vertically and horizontally without shaking or stopping. This is the type of mount you should look for if you are a beginner as it is much easier to use than others and can help work consistently with the included programs that help track celestial bodies as in the StarBlast Orion 10015.
Scope of the search
Another very important feature in choosing the best telescope for your level of expertise and desire is the finder telescope.
This is the part of the telescope that is already mounted on it when it is delivered to you pre-assembled. This is the part of the telescope that has that red dot or reticle that helps to align and centre objects. This will help you to spot and locate what you want to see at any given time.
There are different types of telescopes, such as the refractor telescope, where the light passes through the front lens of the telescope and travels backwards through a mirror. You can observe objects on earth and in the sky.
The auxiliary lens system is what is wedged between the eyepiece of the telescope and the telescope itself. The lens is responsible for determining, decreasing and increasing the focal length and magnification of the image you see in your field of view.
With the lens, you can double or triple the magnification, as you wish.
It is interesting to note that the smaller the lens, the greater the magnification.
From telescope to telescope, the number of eyepieces available often changes. For example, the Meade Instruments Infinity has three different eyepieces, which can help you when you are trying to sport and follow an image.
Not only do they differ in number, but they also change with magnification and field of view. Fortunately, with proper care and maintenance, the eyepiece – no matter how many there are – can often last a lifetime and will never need to be replaced.
Size and weight
Especially for beginners, the weight of the telescope can make a huge difference. You will want to be able to carry the telescope around easily and accompany it on all your travels. Especially if you’re not just transporting it from your car to the perfect location, you’ll want the setup process to be simple.
The DoubleSun AZ telescope is one of the lightest on this list, weighing just 1.5kg, which is ideally the lightest weight to carry. However, most beginner telescopes weigh no more than 25-30 pounds at most, which is quite light for a tool to be used for observing and studying the night sky.
Depending on how you want to use these telescopes, certain accessories can be ideal for the ultimate viewing experience. An aluminium tripod, for example, which comes with the DoubleSun AZ telescope or the stainless steel tripod that holds the Celestron 21063 AstroMaster 90 can be excellent accessories to accompany the telescope.
Other accessories also include a number of eyepieces, a table stand, a tripod and a case.
Most of these telescopes – on the guide and on the market – come with a 1-2 year manufacturer’s warranty. Especially as these telescopes are intended for beginners, they do not come with all the special materials and equipment used for more advanced models, which will most likely increase the warranty.
If you haven’t read most of the rest of our guide, here are our top three choices:
The Orion 10016 StarBlast 6 is our editor’s choice. This reflector telescope has an aperture of 150mm and a focal length of 750mm, which is pretty solid for a beginner’s telescope. It is fairly light, at only 23.5 pounds, and comes with a wooden, altazimuth mount tripod,
EZ Finder II finderscope, and a one-year limited warranty.
If you want to spot celestial landmarks with ease, the Celestron NexStar 5 SE is our top rated computerized telescope. Designed by Schmidt-Cassegrain, this telescope has a focal length of 1250 mm and is covered by a 2-year limited warranty. Not only is it lightweight, weighing only 17 pounds, but it also comes with features such as: a star spotter, over 40,000 stored celestial objects, a motorized alt-azimuth mount, and is GoTo capable, which helps beginners spot bodies in the sky.
The DoubleSun AZ telescope is our budget choice as the best amateur telescope. Extremely light, weighing only 6.8 pounds, it still packs a punch. It comes with everything you need as a beginner, as well as an adjustable aluminium alloy tripod for tracking as a bonus!
We hope our guide has helped you choose from the best telescopes for beginners. Enjoy the night sky!
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