Best Telescope Reviews 2019

A telescope can be a pretty handy tool for a lot of different reasons. It can be a great way to look at the night sky and see things like comets and stars that you might not have been able to see otherwise. Another cool use for telescopes is bird watching. It’s safe to say that a lot of hobbies can be facilitated with the right telescope, it’s just finding the right one can be quite difficult. Listed below is a comparison table of the 10 best telescope, followed by a buying guide and reviews.

​Rank

​Product Name

​Aperture

​Focal length

​Focal ratio

​#10

​Meade ​Infinity 102mm AZ Refractor Telescope

​102mm

​600mm

​f/5.9

​#9

​Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ

​127mm

​1000mm

​f/7.87

​#8

​Orion 8944 SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope

​152mm

​1200mm

​f/8

​#7

​Celestron 22150 Omni XLT AZ 102mm Refractor

​102mm

​660mm

​f/6.5

​#6

​Orion 9827 AstroView 6 Equatorial Reflector Telescope

​150mm

​750mm

​f/5

​#5

​Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope

​127mm

​1325mm

​f/13

​#4

​Celestron Omni XLT150 Refractor Telescope

​152mm

​750mm

​f/5

​#3

​Orion 8946 SkyQuest XT10 Classic Dobsonian Telescope Kit

​254mm

​1200mm

​f/4.7

​#2

​Celestron CPC 1100 StarBright XLT

​280mm

​2800mm

​f/10

​#1

​SkyWatcher S11220 Quattro Imaging Newtonian

​254mm

​1000mm

​f/3.94

Buying Guide

One of the most important aspects of your telescope is the aperture. Aperture is a term used to refer to the diameter of the lens that the scope uses to gather light. If you get a telescope with a high aperture, you will be able to see distant celestial objects more clearly, and light will be less likely to mar your view in some way. High aperture telescopes can be quite expensive, but you should still try to get one that has an aperture of at least 70mm.

Another thing you will have to consider is the type of telescope that you are looking to buy. Here are the various types that are available.

​Types of Telescopes

Refractor

This is possibly the most common type of telescope on the open market and is one that you have probably used at some point in your life. A refractor telescope has a lens at the front end of the casing and is generally popular because it is easier to maintain and relatively affordable. That being said, higher inch aperture models can often be dreadfully expensive and will require slightly more maintenance.

Reflectors

Whereas refractors use a lens at the front end of the tube, reflectors use a mirror that is at the very back end of said tube. If you want a higher aperture model on a budget, then a reflector telescope is going to be your best bet. One thing that you should keep in mind is that reflectors require a fair amount of maintenance. The optical tube alignment will have to be regularly calibrated, especially if the telescope undergoes rough use. That being said, the alignment process is not overly complicated, and you will quickly get the hang of it.

Compound

These telescopes are also often referred to as catadioptric telescopes. They combine the elements of refractors and reflectors to get you a closer look at faraway objects. These ​kinds of telescopes are usually quite lightweight which makes them perfect for frequent travelers that need something they can carry with them at all times. They require the most maintenance, however, with frequent calibrations being necessary for the optimal functioning of the scope. Unlike with reflectors, the calibration process for compound telescopes is fairly complicated.

One thing you should note is that all of these telescopes basically employ the same mechanism to view far away objects so any type should do if you are a beginner.

Once you have decided on a specific type of telescope, the next step is ascertaining the power or magnification of the scope that you are interested in. This is something that plays an enormous role in how effective said telescope will be at helping you meet your intended goal. Calculating the magnification power of a telescope is quite easy. You need two numbers, that of the focal length as well as the size of the eyepiece. All you need to do is divide the focal length by the length of the eyepiece, and you will have successfully ascertained the magnification power of a certain telescope.

Finally, once all of the previous items have been ascertained, it is time for you to look at one of the most important aspects of a telescope, one that many people often ignore: the mount. In a lot of ways, your telescope can only really be as good as the mount that it is resting on. An unsteady or poor quality mount will make the telescope move far too much to allow you to look at any reasonably far away objects accurately.

​Types of Mounts

Altitude-Azimuth

These are the more versatile kinds of mounts. They give you a lot of control over where you point your telescope and allow side to side motion. In terms of stability, they tend to be far superior to most other kinds of mounts, but it should be noted that they tend to be somewhat expensive and are usually only for people that are serious about using their telescopes. They tend to come with tripods which can help you optimize stability for your scope and get beautiful views of the night sky.

Equatorial

This mount sacrifices a bit of durability for a wider range of motion. You can fix your telescope at a certain angle and subsequently move the scope within a fixed range that would allow you to track objects like shooting stars and quickly flying birds. You would have to calculate the trajectory of these objects in advance, but this kind of mount does give you the ability to apply your mathematics which is a huge bonus for seasoned and experienced astronomers.

Dobsonian

This is a variant of the Altitude-Azimuth mount that is a little simpler and a lot more elegant. It is a platform that is usually made of wood. This kind of platform is perfect for people that want to keep their telescope in one place rather than travel with it.

Mechanical

These types of mounts are for the truly dedicated among you. They use a motor to aim the telescope and have built-in computers designed to help you track objects with the highest degree of accuracy. They are the most expensive kinds of mounts and can tack on a hefty additional fee to the original price tag of the telescope that you are using.

All in all, stargazing can be a lot of fun if you have the right kind of telescope. However, even with a buying guide, it can get difficult for you to find something worthwhile since the market is saturated with options that you could potentially end up purchasing. Hence, to make the process even simpler for you, the ​best telescope on the market have been reviewed below.

Top 10 Best Telescope Reviews

#10 Meade ​Infinity 102mm AZ Refractor Telescope

meade infinity 102mm review

Features

  • ​102mm aperture
  • ​600mm focal length
  • ​Focal Ratio f/5.9
  • Altitude-Azimuth mount
  • 2x Barlow lens

Pros

  • ​The fine tuning knobs can help you point the telescope in the right direction without you having to worry about manual adjustments that can take up a lot of time.
  • ​Barlow lens provides good magnification that can make distant objects seem a lot clearer. This is a high-quality lens which is surprising given the price point that this telescope is being offered at.
  • ​The aperture is not mind-blowing, but it is one of the better ones that you can get in a price range that’s this affordable.

Cons

  • ​The image is quite dark and is going to require a fair amount of adjustment to make it bright enough to see the image as clearly as possible. This makes this telescope unsuitable for beginners even though it is in the beginner price range.
  • ​Since this is a pretty cheap product, it comes as no surprise that it is not very durable and is thus not suitable for children or any rough use, once again negating some of the benefits that come with it being this affordable.

#9 Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ

Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ review

Features

  • ​3x Barlow Lens
  • ​Focal Ratio: f/7.87
  • ​127mm aperture
  • ​1000mm focal length
  • ​20-inch tube
  • ​German equatorial mount

Pros

  • ​Easy collimation process that can be done by eye instead of having to do complex calculations which saves time during the stargazing experience.
  • ​This telescope comes with a counterweight that would help you keep it stable, thus letting you look at specific points without having to constantly adjust the direction in which your telescope is being pointed.
  • ​Excellent aperture for the price range, the images provided can be quite crisp and clear if you know how to use this telescope properly which makes this a perfect buy for people that know a little bit about astronomy and telescopes but don’t have the budget for an expensive model.

Cons

  • ​There are a few issues with mirror alignment. The images will frequently be blurry due to the mirror getting unaligned on its own.
  • ​The Barlow lens is not easy to use if you are not already familiar with how telescopes work. This telescope is not quite suitable for beginners because of the complicated lens as well as the aforementioned mirror alignment issues.

#8 Orion 8944 SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope

orion 8944

Features

  • ​Dobsonian base
  • ​Six-inch aperture
  • ​f/8 parabolic mirror
  • ​Reflector design

Pros

  • ​One of the primary benefits of this telescope is that it is quite easy to use thanks to all of the intuitive controls.
  • ​This is a telescope that you can use for life. Unlike other telescopes you won’t have to upgrade it constantly, instead, you would be able to use your original purchase for the foreseeable future unless you end up damaging it in some way.
  • ​One of the benefits of the Dobsonian base is that it keeps the telescope very stable which can help you get a much clearer look at a specific point. The stability that comes with the Dobsonian base also makes this telescope further easier to use.

Cons

  • ​While this telescope is quite easy to use, a major obstacle that you are going to face before you start using it is the complicated setup. This is a roadblock that takes some of the fun out of the process.
  • ​While the Dobsonian base makes this telescope good for at home use, the bulky design makes it rather ungainly which can make it difficult to find a spot to put it in.

#7 Celestron 22150 Omni XLT AZ 102mm Refractor (Blue)

Features

  • ​Manual slow motion altazimuth
  • ​Coated optical components
  • ​102mm aperture
  • ​Dual circle reticle

Pros

  • ​The fact that the optical tube components are coated is a huge plus. It makes them more weather resistant which turns this telescope into a much more travel-friendly option. The lightweight nature of this model further boosts the travel-friendly qualities you would enjoy. Stargazing is often done in the great outdoors, so this is a huge plus point.
  • ​One of the reasons that this telescope has been ranked higher than the Orion 8944 is because of the easy, intuitive setup. This saves a lot of time when you are trying to catch a particular astronomical event.
  • ​This is one of the best telescope that you can buy on a budget, even better than any of the previous telescopes on this list.

Cons

  • ​The mount is advertised as being stable, but it’s quite the opposite. It tends to be quite shaky, and quick motions are not possible without ruining the entire angle.
  • ​There have been consumer complaints about a faulty viewfinder. This seems to be a common occurrence so you should keep in mind the hassle that this might cause.

#6 Orion 9827 AstroView 6 Equatorial Reflector Telescope

orion 9827

Features

  • ​Six-inch reflector
  • ​150mm aperture
  • ​750mm focal length
  • ​25mm + 10mm eyepieces

Pros

  • ​The polar alignment on this telescope is surprisingly easy. The controls make it intuitive and effortless, helping you get oriented quickly so that you can get to the fun part of stargazing: looking at the stars!
  • ​The object location on this telescope is also top notch. It allows you to pinpoint celestial objects and focus on them with ease and keeps them in focus so that you can get a good, long look at them.
  • ​An additional benefit that seems legitimately pertinent is the fact that this telescope looks pretty cool. The shiny, futuristic design will make it look great in your home, and will pique people’s interest so that you can talk about your passion to your heart’s content.

Cons

  • ​A major problem with this telescope has to do with the mount, specifically with the joints connecting the legs of the trip to the rest of the mount. These joints are pretty fragile, which is a problem because quite a bit of pressure is being placed on them at all times.

#5 Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope

celestron nexstar 4 se review

Features

  • ​4-inch aperture
  • ​Automated, computerized mount
  • ​Durable, steady steel tripod
  • ​Comes with SkyAlign Technology
  • ​Starry Night software

Pros

  • ​If you are still new to the world of astronomy but have some money that you can spend, this product is an excellent buy thanks to the computerized mount that can help you pinpoint all of the coolest ​celestial objects with ease.
  • ​The Starry Night software is a great bonus for people that are interested in learning about the night sky while looking at it.
  • ​The highly durable steel tripod is one of the best mounts you can get. It helps keep the telescope as steady as possible.
  • ​The SkyAlign technology can make alignment incredibly intuitive and simple.

Cons

  • ​You need a power source to properly operate this telescope which limits the number of places you can use it to some extent.
  • ​This is a rather heavy and ungainly telescope, so traveling with it is going to be more or less impossible unless you are willing to pay for the excess damage, not to mention put the delicate and intricate innards of the telescope at risk of getting damaged during the traveling process.

#4 Celestron Omni XLT150 Refractor Telescope

celestron omni xlt 150 refractor

Features

  • ​StarBright XLT Coating
  • ​CG-4 German equatorial mount
  • ​Pre-assembled tripod
  • ​f/5.0 focal ratio

Pros

  • ​The stainless steel tripod is something you would be interested in. It’s durable, stable and overall gives you a lot of control over where your telescope is pointing. The fact that it comes preassembled is also a nice touch.
  • ​This telescope comes with a special coating that helps you make the most of what little light you have. This makes the telescope perfect for nighttime viewings of the night sky.
  • ​You won’t need tools to set this telescope up which is another huge plus point.
  • ​This telescope also comes with The Sky Level 1 software which is great for people that want to try and learn about astronomy while using a telescope.

Cons

  • ​Collimation is a frequent problem with this telescope. Although the hardware setup is always going to be easy, you will end up wasting a lot of the time you save there on the collimation process.
  • ​Some models have been known to come with inaccurately glued mirrors which can throw your entire view off-kilter and ruin the experience in a lot of ways. You can easily get a replacement if such a thing occurs, however.

#3 Orion 8946 SkyQuest XT10 Classic Dobsonian Telescope Kit

orion 8946 skyquest xt10

Features

  • ​1200mm focal length
  • ​254mm aperture
  • ​2 inch Crayford focuser
  • ​25mm eyepiece

Pros

  • ​The excellent aperture gives you extremely clear images that look like they are pictures in a book about the planets that are in our solar system!
  • ​The Crayford focuser is a nice touch. It allows you to get your telescope fixed on a certain point and adjust the clarity of your image. This can be particularly useful if you are planning to use a camera with your telescope because it will make your pictures a lot better.
  • ​While the focal length of this telescope is already quite solid, the 25mm eyepiece adds even more depth to what you are seeing.
  • ​You get a brilliant point and view experience that is going to help you make the most of your passion for astronomy.

Cons

  • ​Perhaps the primary disadvantage of this product is that it is quite bulky. Weighing at over fifty pounds, it is going to be tough to take to any dark night sky areas where stargazing would be at its best.
  • ​The Dobsonian mount lacks a lot of the cooler features that Altitude Azimuth mounts tend to have, though it does help keep the price down a bit.

#2 Celestron CPC 1100 StarBright XLT

celestron cpc 1100 starbright

Features

  • ​f/10 focal ratio
  • ​280mm aperture
  • ​2800mm focal length
  • ​661x maximum magnification

Pros

  • ​This is a monster of a telescope that has GPS navigation to help you pinpoint the exact spot that you would want to look at. The computerization is something you can use to make the most of your nighttime stargazing.
  • ​It’s tough to find a telescope with an aperture that’s this good. You will get some shockingly clear pictures of planets as far away as Saturn. It will truly be a mesmerizing experience! The phenomenal magnification is what will help you get as far as our ringed gas giant.
  • ​For a telescope that’s this bulky, the design is pretty lightweight and ergonomic. While it is not exactly lightweight, it is easier to carry than you might think.

Cons

  • ​The major issue that you are going to have with this telescope probably has to do with the fact that it is so expensive. The price range is so high that it might be out of most people’s reach, and it is this inaccessibility that prevented it from getting the top spot on this list of best telescopes.

#1 SkyWatcher S11220 Quattro Imaging Newtonian

Features

  • ​254mm aperture
  • ​1000mm focal length
  • ​Borosilicate mirrors (multi-coated)
  • ​Two-inch power focuser

Pros

  • ​The primary thing that you will like about this telescope is the fact that it is shockingly affordable. For features this good, the asking price is not just reasonable, it’s a steal!
  • ​The image quality here is stunning. You will feel like you are in a spaceship gazing at a distant planet rather than sitting on Earth.
  • ​This product is particularly useful because it has been optimized for astrophotography. This means you won’t just be able to look at the planets in our solar system, you’ll be able to capture them for posterity as well.
  • ​At a price like this, a 254mm aperture is far beyond anything you could hope for. This is ​the best telescope on our list that can take your astronomy to new, incredible heights.

Cons

  • ​One problem that you might have with this telescope is the fact you don’t get an eyepiece with your purchase. However, when you consider the fact that the asking price is so low, paying a little for an eyepiece is quite reasonable.

Conclusion

There you have it! The telescopes that have been mentioned above are going to be pretty hard to beat. There is something in this list for everybody, whether you are a beginner or an expert or someone that wants a telescope to play around with now and then. Now that you are armed with the ​best telescope you are ready to venture out into the right kinds of areas and take a good, long look at the night sky and all of the gorgeous details it has to offer. Try not to get lost in the stars!

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