Picking an entry-level telescope is often much harder than picking a high-end one. This is because there are loads of low-quality, shoddy scopes that you have to sift through. Low-quality telescopes have given a pretty bad name to the astronomy industry. They make people think that inexpensive telescopes aren’t worth buying at all. However, the reality is that there are plenty of good telescopes out there that are affordable. You just need to know what to look for. Today, we’re going to talk about the best telescope under 100 dollars. We’ll start by discussing a few key factors that you need to be aware of. Once you know how to identify these factors, you’ll be able to identify good telescopes quite easily.

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How to Spot a Good Telescope

A size of a telescope’s price tag doesn’t always determine its quality. What you need to look for are the components that make up a telescope. This is a lot easier than you might think. A telescope is made of numerous parts, but you only need to care about a few important ones. Especially if you’re someone who’s new to astronomy and don’t want to get into confusing things. We’ve talked about all the major components of a telescope in great detail before. You can read about them over here if you’re interested in the nitty-gritty details. If you want the TL;DR version of things then you can continue down below:

  • You should focus on the aperture (lens diameter) of a telescope.
  • You should also keep its focal length and focal ratio in mind.
  • Lastly, you should keep a telescope’s magnification in mind.

These are all the major things that you need to be aware of. Now before we begin reviewing telescopes, here’s a word of caution. At a 100 dollar price range, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll come across toy telescopes. These aren’t telescopes at all, and you should steer clear of them. The telescopes that we’re going to talk about are definitely not toys. They’re made by reputable manufacturers and are proper astronomical instruments.

The Best Telescopes Under 100 Dollars - Comparison Table

​Name

​Type

​Aperture

​Focal Length

​Weight

​Celestron FirstScope ​Telescope

​Reflector

​76mm

​300mm

​4.3 Lbs.

​Orion GoScope III 70mm Refractor

​Refractor

​70mm

​400mm

​3.5 Lbs.

​Orion 10033 FunScope 76mm Tabletop Reflector Telescope

​Reflector

​70mm

​Approx. 340mm

​4 Lbs.

Celestron FirstScope ​Telescope

celestron firstscope telescope review

​Features

  • A reflector telescope that offers a pretty decent range of specs. Its 76mm wide lens allows it to capture clear images of the moon.
  • The telescope has a Dobsonian style mount that keeps it stable on flat and elevated surfaces.
  • It’s easy to use and also easy to set up. You can begin using the telescope from the moment you unbox it.

Pros

  • It offers a superb starter stargazing experience for such a great price.
  • The mount is quite stable.
  • Its optics offer decent image capturing opportunity.

Cons

  • The telescope’s build quality isn’t the best. It can be damaged easily.

Orion GoScope III 70mm Refractor

orion goscope iii 70mm

​Features

  • A compact refractor scope that’s great for traveling use. It’s designed to be tough and for being used outdoors.
  • Comes with a finder scope that makes aiming the telescope easier. It even has a small tripod that can keep the telescope stable on a variety of surfaces.
  • A superb choice for children. It’s easy to use and sturdy enough to survive a bit of wear and tear.

Pros

  • Can handle outdoor conditions quite well.
  • The telescope comes with a handful of accessories that make its usage even easier.

Cons

  • It has low-quality optics that don’t produce the clearest images.

Orion 10033 FunScope 76mm Tabletop Reflector Telescope

orion funscope review

Features

  • Compact and easy to use, this reflector is great for tabletop use. It has a relatively powerful set of optics that capture the moon and nearby planets pretty well.
  • Its lightweight design and easy usability make it a superb option for kids.

Pros

  • Comes with a MoonMap that helps you identify craters on the moon.
  • Its optics are 60% brighter than other telescopes of this aperture size.

Cons

  • It isn’t durable at all.

These are some of the best scopes that you can get under 100 dollars. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t expect too much from them. These scopes are designed to give you a taste of astronomy. You can expect to see the moon pretty well through them. You might even be able to spot a planet or two. However, once you become really invested in astronomy, then you’re going to need a better scope eventually.

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