Best Telescopes Reviewed & Rated for Quality

Did you ever look into the night sky and wonder what is up above us. We see bright stars and other objects on a clear night. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see things in more detail and learn about different planets, stars, nebula, and galaxies? There is a lot to learn from what is out there, and it can sometimes be quite the humbling experience. Whether you are an experienced stargazer or just getting started with some basic astronomy, there are several ways you can learn more about the different objects that you see in the night sky.

Last Updated: October 9, 2018
By Bill Swanson:

I updated this rating and review to include how to information on lens care and cleaning.

Featured Recommendations

Orion 09007 SpaceProbe
  • Orion 09007 SpaceProbe
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Tripod allows manual slow-motion tracking of celestial objects
Celestron NexStar 90SLT
  • Celestron NexStar 90SLT
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Quick-Release Fork Arm Mount
  • Price: See Here
Meade Instruments 216006 Polaris
  • Meade Instruments 216006 Polaris
  • 3.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Price: See Here

Telescopes are devices that contain lens and mirrors. The lens collects light and concentrates the light to a small focal point to create an image. Because the lens and mirrors can collect more light than the human eye they allow us to see images at a great distance. The larger the lens the more light it can collect, therefore it allows us to see farther away more clearly.

In order to really get a good look at the night sky, you are going to need a good telescope. When you first start out with your stargazing endeavors, you can get a cheaper telescope that is primarily designed to show you images in our solar system alone such as the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn’s rings. However, as you learn more and more how to use a telescope and track different space objects across the sky, you might want to pick out a nicer telescope that can show you small objects in a lot of detail in our solar system, while also getting you images of space objects that are much further away. With some telescopes, you might even be able to see beyond the Milky Way Galaxy. Whatever you are trying to spot, it can be incredibly beautiful and fascinating. Therefore, you need to make sure that pick out a good telescope that gives you a good look at your favorite space objects. Refractor telescopes are normally a good choice because they are very resistant to misalignment. However, the chromatic irregularity caused by refracting can mean your refractor telescopes do not last as long. Therefore, you either need a strong and durable refractor telescope or you can also consider getting a reflecting telescope. No matter your preferences, as long as you know what your needs are, you should be able to find a great telescope that suits all your stargazing needs.


10 Best Telescopes


1. Orion 09007 SpaceProbe

1. Orion 09007 SpaceProbe
This 5-inch aperture refractor telescope works well for the most serious stargazers. It weighs only 27 pounds, so you can move it around until you find the perfect location for tracking your favorite deep sky objects.
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Sturdy Mount
The EQ-2 stand and adjustable tripod base are very sturdy and durable. Therefore, you will be able to put your telescope on almost any surface when you are using it.

Starry Night Software
On the nights when you cannot see much in the sky, you can use the included starry night software. The software is also great for learning more about what you are seeing.

Cost and Value
It is not the cheapest option, but it does come with many additional features, including two different eyepiece sizes, a finder scope to accurately aim your telescope, and the starry night software.

It comes with everything you need.

It is easy to adjust.

The quality of the images is great.

It is easy to transport.


It is not good for beginners.

It requires a certain amount of assembly.

2. Celestron NexStar 90SLT

2. Celestron NexStar 90SLT
Although this telescope comes in four different sizes and sizes, the one with the 90-millimeter optical design is probably the easiest to use and allows for relatively high magnification
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StarPointer Finderscope
This scope can help you out with properly aligning your telescope so that you find objects quickly and accurately. It works for objects that are both in space and on Earth.

SkyX Planetarium Software
This software will allow you to have better control of your telescope. It will also help you learn more about your favorite objects. It is compatible with remote control software that you can get with your telescope.

Cost and Value
There may be a few cheaper options available, but this price is definitely very reasonably for a feature-laden quality telescope.

It is very portable.

It is easy to assemble.

You have a lot of control.

The images are high quality.


The battery life is relatively short.

The computerized mount works better by hand.

3. Meade Instruments 216006 Polaris

3. Meade Instruments 216006 Polaris
This beautiful blue telescope is designed with an aperture of 130 millimeters. It is a reflecting telescope that will provide you with very bright and vivid images of the night sky.
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650mm Focal Length
This focal length is ideal for spotting larger galaxies nebulae. However, if you want to focus in on smaller objects, it also comes with a 127-millimeter aperture with a 100-millimeter focal length that is ideal for planets and other smaller objects.

Astronomical Software
The astronomical software that comes with this telescope is designed to make it easier for you to find and identify objects. It also comes with an instructional DVD to help you out some more.

Cost and Value
You can get buy this telescope for a great price for a high-quality telescope. If this price is still outside your range, you can also get a 114-millimeter aperture for only $140.

It rotates with the earth, so you can track objects easily.

It comes with great supplies.

The tripod base is light and portable.

There is no degradation of light reflectivity.


It can be difficult to use.

Some of the software is designed for PC use only.

4. Sky Watcher ProED

4. Sky Watcher ProED
The Sky-Watcher ProED refractor telescope comes in three different sizes. Each comes with a viewfinder and two different eyepieces. One eyepiece is 20 millimeter, and one is 5 millimeters.
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The size is on the smaller side, which makes it much lighter than traditional triplets. The focal length is also pretty short, which makes it good for some wide viewing.

Aluminum Carry Case
This telescope comes inside a nice case. This well-padded aluminum carrying case will keep your telescope safe if you ever want to transport your telescope to a new location.

Cost and Value
The cost of this telescope is going to depend on the size you choose, but it is not cheap. However, this telescope does seem to have superior image quality compared to many other telescopes.

It comes with all the supplies and features that you need.

It is great for wide images.

It is very light and easy to transport.

The material is very sturdy and durable.


Brighter objects might have a pink tinge.

The scope may be on the longer side.

5. Gskyer AZ70400

5.  Gskyer AZ70400
This telescope is easy to use and easy to set. The fully coated glass allows for you to have advanced clarity and brightness as you observe different objects in the night sky.

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Optical Glass ZF4
This type of glass is non-dispersive and will not negatively impact the image, even after a lot of you. The aluminum alloy on the lens also helps with ensuring that you will get a lot of use out of this telescope.

Two Eyepieces
You can change the eyepiece to control the clarity of your image. One is 25 millimeters, and one is 10 millimeters. You can insert either one into the telescope, depending on what you are trying to look at.

Cost and Value
You can get this telescope for a bargain for a high-quality durable telescope, especially since it comes with a one-year warranty if you run into any problems.

It comes with a one-year warranty.

It is great for beginners.

It is portable.

It is easy to assemble.


You will not be able to see objects that are particularly far away.

There are no instructions included.

6. BARSKA Starwatcher

6. BARSKA Starwatcher
With a 400-millimeter focal length and three different eyepieces with varying magnifications, this tabletop telescope is perfect for beginner astronomers and students to take a look at various objects.
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Carrying Case
This telescope comes with a nicely padded soft carrying case. Whether you prefer indoor or outdoor use, this case will help you out with transporting your telescope to your favorite stargazing locations.

Deepsky Astronomy Software
The astronomy software that comes included with this telescope is perfect for helping you learn more about the objects that you are seeing. It includes information about over 10,000 different planets, nebulae, stars, and other objects that you might like to find in the sky.

Cost and Value
You can get this telescope for cheap, so it is a perfect telescope to get if you are just starting out as an amateur stargazer. If you do not like it, then it comes with a warranty.

It comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

It is very lightweight and portable.

Could for customizing and experimenting with imaging.

The glass is very durable and high quality.


It might produce a double image.

It is only good for beginners and it will not last long for more experienced astronomers.

7. Emarth

7. Emarth
This 360 x 70-millimeter telescope was specifically designed for people who like to travel, so it is both very compact and very portable. It is great for terrestrial and outer space objects.
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Altazimuth Mount
This smooth functioning mount that comes with the telescope is easy to control and move vertically. Once you locate an object, just adjust the mount, and you should get a great image.

With a low power magnification, the finderscope on the Emarth Telescope is designed to help you locate any object that you are interested in looking at in the main telescope.

Cost and Value
This telescope is going to cost you an amazing price for a high-quality telescope. It will last you a long time and has great images.

It comes with the most necessary equipment.

It is very easy to transport.

It is easy to use, even for beginners.

The instructions come with a nice map of the moon.


The finderscope takes time to align.

It is not good for objects that are particularly far away.

8. MaxUSee

8. MaxUSee
This 70-millimeter refractor telescope comes with three different eyepieces to give you a wide variety of magnification options. It is great for anyone who is just starting out with stargazing.
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3x Barlow Lenses
The three lenses allow for increased magnification if you want to zoom in or out of some of your images. Just insert the lenses, and you will see your clear images of different space objects.

Moon Mirror
It comes with an easy to use a mirror that is designed to help you get great images of the moon. You will be surprised at how much detail of the moon you will be able to see using this telescope with help from the mirror.

Cost and Value
It is definitely cheap, but it is still a great product for amateur astronomers who are just starting out in the business of tracking different space objects across the sky.

It is easy to transport.

It comes with the most necessary supplies.

It is very easy to use and adjust.

It comes with an extra eyepiece in case it breaks.


You will not be able to see more than the moon in bad weather conditions.

It may be difficult to figure out how to first put it together.

9. Geertop 90x

9. Geertop 90x
The Geertop 90x portable refractor tabletop telescope works for stargazing and birdwatching. It is a great telescope for beginners, and it comes with all sorts of supplies to help you out if you are just getting started.
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Adjustable Screw
This telescope was designed to be easy to use for kids and beginners, so all you have to do to set it up and adjust it is tighten and loosen a screw. Adjusting the screw will help you zoom in and out of any object that you choose.

Tabletop Tripod Stand
The simple and sturdy tabletop tripod stand that is connected to this telescope is designed to give you a steady image as you explore the different objects in the sky.

Cost and Value
Since this telescope is really only designed for beginners or as a gift for kids who may want to learn a little more about astronomy, it is quite cheap.


It is easy to use.

It will give you relatively detailed images of the moon.

Assembly is quick and easy.

It will last a long time.


It is not powerful.

It has an awkward size.

10. Levenhuk Strike 90 PLUS

10. Levenhuk Strike 90 PLUS
This 90-millimeter lens refractor telescope works well for both terrestrial and space observations. It is designed for beginners, but you can still get a good look at plenty of space objects.
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Multi-Coated Optics
The Levenhuk String 90 PLUS Telescope comes with good value multi-coated optics. The high quality coated optics will ensure that your images look great, even though this telescope is not designed for professional use.

3D Planetarium Software
This software that comes with the telescope will help you learn more about different objects that you may be looking at. It also comes with a great compass to help you locate the objects that you want to learn about.

Cost and Value
This telescope costs more than other beginner telescopes because it is designed to allow beginners to see professional grade quality images of different objects in the night sky.

It is very easy to use.

It comes with all the necessary supplies.

It is sturdy and durable to give you a steady image.

The images are clear, vivid, and bright.


The lens might run into problems if you use it a lot.

The assembly is not so easy.

There are a lot of great telescopes out there for both beginners and for more experienced astronomers. There are wide lenses, powerful telescopes, adjustable scopes, finder scopes, computerized software, portable telescopes, larger telescopes, and many other different sizes and designs. The best telescopes will give you great images of many different objects that might appear in the night sky. They will not be too difficult to use because it should not take you all night in order to find various objects. Obviously, telescopes designed for beginners are going to be easier to use. However, even if you have been stargazing for a long time, you should be able to find a telescope that will quickly get you images of your favorite objects. All you need is decent weather, a good location, and a little bit of patience. As long as you know what type of stargazing needs you have, you should be able to find a highly regarded telescope that gives you everything that you want.

Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Telescopes

Since there are many different types of telescopes with different features and advantages, it might be a little confusing for you to figure out what your needs and priorities are. A lot of it is going to depend on whether you are an amateur or an experienced stargazer. However, as long as your telescope meets a wide range of criteria, you are probably going to be satisfied with your purchase. In order to ensure that a telescope really is going to be the best for you, it must meet certain standards that set it apart from other telescopes.

Image Quality

The most important part of any telescope is going to be image quality. You do not want too many blurry images. Instead, you want the images that you find to be vivid and bright. Magnification is going to make the most difference when it comes to quality, but you should also keep it mind that other factors can affect the quality of your images. For example, if you have to deal with a lot of light or air pollution, then getting the clearest images is not necessarily going to be all that easy for you. In order to solve the problem of light and air pollution, you might want a little bit extra magnification. However, the most highly rated telescopes are not going to have any problems with dust and light interfering with your image. As long as you know how to adjust the lens in order to perfect the clarity, you should be able to get nice clear images of different objects throughout the solar system and maybe even beyond if your telescope is powerful enough. However, you also want to be careful about too much magnification. After all, when you zoom in more, certain details can start to become indistinguishable. Therefore, you also need to take an aperture into consideration in order to ensure that enough light is getting into your telescope. Smaller telescopes might have good magnification, but they are not going to have the aperture to give you a good quality image. Even larger telescopes do better with less magnification. When you use a telescope, you should probably start with the lowest magnification possible and zoom in a little bit at a time until you see an image clearly. However, if you do want to zoom in, then the best telescopes will come with the option to zoom in a lot, while still maintaining the quality of the images that you are trying to focus on.


With a good telescope, you should not have any difficult finding various space objects. Some objects are going to be more difficult to spot, but your telescope should definitely be making it somewhat easier for you. If you are a beginner, then it is especially important that your telescope is not too confusing. However, even experienced stargazers should not have to be up all night before they figure out how to work their telescope. Therefore, the best telescopes are going to be easy to use. They will have various features to help you adjust your telescope just right. They should also have features to help you align it perfectly so that you can find the right objects. Some telescopes will have software that can help point your telescope in the right direction. Others will just have very simple controls. If you are amateur, be aware that a good telescope is still going to require a certain amount of patience before you get it just right. Although there are telescopes that can do the work for you, it is definitely less satisfying than finding different objects on your own. Additionally, if you do not do any of the hard work, then you will never really learn how to use a telescope. Without knowing how to really adjust and align your telescope, you will never be able to leave the amateur stages of stargazing, which means you probably will be unable to really start using the more powerful telescopes designed for advanced users. You may be perfectly happy with being an amateur for the rest of your life, but you should know that the super basic telescopes are usually unable to see anything beyond the moon, Jupiter, and Saturn’s rings. If you want to get some images of faraway nebulae in the Milky Way, then you need to learn how to use some of the more complex telescopes.


Of course, you do not want your telescope to fall over as you are using it. Your careful alignments can get completely ruined if your telescope starts to tip over. No matter where you are stargazing, your telescope should be able to balance nicely. Tabletop telescopes are generally designed to rely on smooth surfaces to stand as steady as steady. Other telescopes are designed to remain steady on any type surface. After all, it would be pretty devastating if your telescope fell over and broke. Even if it does not break, it is definitely a big inconvenience if it falls. In fact, your telescope should not shake or wobble at all as you use it. If your telescope is shaky, then your image is going to be even shakier. Since you are looking at objects that are so far away, even the tiniest wobbles are going to give you an image that is not sufficiently steady. The moon may be a close enough object to allow for a very small amount of wobbling. However, even when you are looking for images of the moon, it is going to require a little bit of sturdiness. Images even further away from the Earth will not allow for any wobble at all. Therefore, you need a telescope with a good base. Additionally, some telescopes will move with the rotation of the Earth so that it can stay focused on faraway objects throughout the night without necessitating constant realignments. This feature means that some sort of motor will be running in your telescope. Only the best telescopes will have motors that do not cause any shaking as they work. If they do, then it is usually best to turn this feature while you are viewing far away objects. Otherwise, you will not be happy with your images.


It would be pretty frustrating if your telescope did not last you a long time. It is also definitely going to be upsetting if some of your equipment stops working. The chances are pretty low that anything is going to physically break unless you do not take care of your purchase. However, it is possible that various equipment will start to get old. Lenses may not work as well, images may start getting less clear, extra dust might start getting the way of your images. All the best telescopes will be made from materials that are designed to last, and none of your equipment will stop working. Eventually, it is possible that you may need to replace a telescope, especially some of the cheaper ones designed for beginners. However, if you get a more expensive telescope, you really should not have to ever think about getting a new telescope. You may decide that you want a new telescope to supplement the one that you already have, but you should never have to replace your old one unless you are simply upgrading to a more advanced model designed for more experienced stargazers.


The size of your telescope is going to be important for a number of reasons. First of all, you want it to be easy to transport. After all, your favorite stargazing location may switch up sometimes, especially depending on the weather and the time of year. Smaller telescopes are definitely going to be easier to transport. However, smaller telescopes do come at a disadvantage when it comes to aperture. Smaller telescopes are going to have lenses that do not collect enough light for the best possible images. Without enough light coming in, your vision will not get much farther than Saturn’s rings. Of course, looking at Saturn’s rings is definitely exciting, but better telescopes will allow you to see much more than that. Therefore, if you want to see beyond our solar system and maybe even beyond our galaxies, you are going to have to get a telescope that is big in order to ensure that it has a big enough aperture.


Size is only one factor that affects portability. Plenty of telescopes are difficult to assemble, bulky, and come with lots of extra equipment. However, if you want to be able to travel with your telescope, you probably want to travel light. Therefore, many of the best telescopes have a very compact design. They also will not come with too much bulky equipment. After all, when you go camping, stargazing is a great activity because you are usually far away from light pollution and air pollution. It is definitely an advantage if you can take your telescope camping with you.

Additional Features

The best telescopes are going to come with additional features that make it easier for you to stargaze. Some will come with software that will tell you about what images you are looking for. Sometimes, this type of software can also make it easier for you to find your favorite images. Other good telescopes may come with features that allow the telescope to spin slowly so that the rotation of the Earth does not throw off your angle. It is also beneficial if your telescope comes with many different types of lenses in order to allow you to adjust the magnification.


Some telescopes are definitely going to be more expensive than others. However, all the best telescopes should be worth their price. If it is expensive, then it should last you a long time, it should give you high-quality images, and you should be able to see a wide range of the object. The more expensive it is, the more you should be able to see. Additionally, the more expensive telescopes should also come with certain features to make it easier for you to get a great image.


Many telescopes do not come assembled, which means you will have to take care of the assembly on your own. Although the amount of time it takes you to put your telescope together is not going to affect how well it works, it definitely is a hassle if your telescope is difficult to assemble. Therefore, most of the highly regarded telescopes should not be impossible to assemble. Many will also come with instruction manuals to ensure that assembly goes as smoothly as possible.

Cleaning of your Telescope

The lens of the telescope is fragile and should be treated gently. You can easily scratch the lens or coating of the lens. The best advice is to keep the lens covered when not in use to prevent dust or other contaminants from getting on the lens. You should never wipe the dust off the lens as you risk the chance of scratching the lens. Compressed air in a can be used to blow the dust off the lens. If after this you still have oil from fingerprints or eyelashes, you can use lens cleaning wipes and a microfiber cloth. First using the microfiber dry then the lens cleaning wipes. If absolutely necessary a lens cleaning fluid can be used after these steps. The fluid should never be dropped or poured directly on the lens as it may seep around the lens into the telescope. The fluid should be place sparingly on the microfiber cloth and used in a gentle circular motion on the lens. Next use a dry part of the microfiber cloth to completely dry the lens.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is an aperture?

A: Aperture describes the size of the lens. The lens is probably the most important part of your telescope because it is the part that is going to take in all the light. Your telescope uses this light to generate the perfect image for you. Bigger lenses are going to take in more light, which will allow you to see more objects. Smaller lenses probably will not get you any good images outside of the solar system.

Q: What is focal length?

A: The focal length describes the distance between the lens and the eyepiece. In other words, it just describes how big the actual telescope is. Of course, aperture will also affect size. Therefore, you can have a big focal length, but a very light telescope if the aperture is small. You can also have a small focal length and a big aperture, which you normally see in the very high-quality telescopes designed for travel.

Q: What is chromatic aberration?

A: Chromatic aberration is a problem that some refractor telescopes may start to face over time. When you allow different wavelengths to hit the lens of your refractor telescope, it can eventually start having trouble focusing. However, the best telescopes are designed with lenses that will not face this problem. Additionally, plenty of telescopes do not use refracting lenses, which means that you will not have this problem.

Q: What is the difference between refraction and reflection?

A: Refractor telescopes use lenses in order to collect light. Reflecting telescopes actually uses a mirror in order to collect light. Reflecting telescopes often leave you with an image that is upside-down. Of course, unless you are a seasoned astronomer, you probably will not be able to tell the difference between an upside-down image of the moon and a right-side-up image of the moon. If you are interested, there are some telescopes that are a combination of a refractor and a reflecting telescope. These telescopes are called cadiotropic telescopes. Even though they use a mirror, the image is going to right-side up.

Q. What do telescopes do?

A. The basic explanation of telescope functions are the lens of a telescope collects light then focuses the light to create an image.


  1. Astronomy Week, Choosing a Telescope
  2. Wikipedia, Chromatic Aberration
  3. Wikipedia, Telescope
  4. Love the night sky,  Lens cleaning
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