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Our buyer’s guide summarizes key considerations for beginners, offering practical advice on aperture, focal length, mount types, and more. We aim to empower you to select the telescope that aligns perfectly with your interests, budget, and stargazing ambitions.


Best Overall
StarSense Explorer

Celestron 8" Dobsonian Telescope

Aperture: 203mm

Focal Length: 1200mm

Mount Type: Altazimuth Dobsonian

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Best Value
Dobsonian Telescope

Orion SkyQuest XT6

Aperture: 150mm

Focal Length: 1200mm

Mount Type: Dobsonian

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Best Budget
Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope

SarBlue Mak60

Aperture: 60mm

Focal Length: 700mm

Mount Type: Tabletop Tripod

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Our top 7 picks

These are our top 7 picks for the best beginner telescopes in the current market.


The Celestron StarSense Explorer 8″ Dobsonian telescope combines smartphone technology with advanced features, making stargazing accessible and captivating for all enthusiasts.

Equipped with an impressive 8″ parabolic primary mirror and XLT coatings, it delivers exceptional performance and clarity for celestial observations.

The StarSense Explorer app, compatible with most modern smartphones, takes your stargazing experience to the next level.

Using patented sky recognition technology, the app analyzes star patterns in real-time.

Simply dock your smartphone and align it with the telescope’s optics. Within minutes, the app generates a comprehensive list of visible celestial objects.

On-screen arrows provide intuitive guidance, turning green when a target is ready to be observed through the eyepiece.

With audio descriptions and detailed information on thousands of objects, the app enriches your exploration of the cosmos.

The Dobsonian-style base of the telescope showcases substantial diameter bearings and adjustable altitude tightening, ensuring smooth and precise movements as you track celestial objects.

Its ergonomic design allows for easy adjustment and precise pointing, while the included carry handles and dust covers facilitate convenient transport and storage.

With its 8″ Newtonian reflector optical tube, the StarSense Explorer offers impressive light-gathering capabilities, providing sharp and bright views of various celestial wonders.

From Jupiter’s moons to Saturn’s rings, the ethereal beauty of the Orion Nebula, and the captivating Andromeda Galaxy, this telescope reveals their intricate details.

XLT optical coatings enhance contrast and light throughput, allowing you to discern subtle features on the Moon, planets, galaxies, and nebulae.

The Celestron StarSense Explorer 8″ Dobsonian comes with a high-quality 2″ Crayford focuser, a 25mm Plössl eyepiece, a StarPointer red dot finderscope, an eyepiece rack, and a collimation tool.

Its robust construction and top-notch materials ensure durability and consistent performance under various conditions.

In summary, the Celestron StarSense Explorer 8″ Dobsonian combines smartphone integration, advanced optics, and user-friendly features to unlock the wonders of the night sky.

It’s a telescope that inspires exploration and provides breathtaking views of the cosmos.

Key Specifications:

  1. Optical Design: Newtonian Reflector
  2. Aperture: 203mm (8″)
  3. Focal Length: 1200mm (47.24″)
  4. Focal Ratio: f/5.9
  5. Highest Useful Magnification: 480x
  6. Lowest Useful Magnification: 29x
  7. Mount Type: Altazimuth Dobsonian base
  8. Finderscope: StarPointer™ red-dot finderscope
  9. Focuser: 2″ Crayford focuser
  10. Weight: 43.4 lbs (19.68 kg)


  1. Smartphone integration with the StarSense Explorer app for effortless celestial object tracking.
  2. Impressive 8″ parabolic primary mirror and XLT coatings for exceptional performance and clarity.
  3. Dobsonian base with smooth movements and ergonomic design for precise pointing.
  4. Extensive database, audio descriptions, and detailed information enhance the stargazing experience.
  5. High-quality optics and XLT coatings deliver sharp and bright views of celestial objects.
  6. Convenient carry handles and dust covers for easy transport and protection.
  7. Compatible with most modern smartphones for user-friendly operation.


  1. Requires a compatible smartphone for full functionality.
  2. Manual operation without computerized tracking features.
  3. The Dobsonian base design may be less portable compared to other telescope types.

The Orion SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian telescope is a powerful and user-friendly instrument designed to provide exceptional views of the night sky.

With its large aperture, sturdy construction, and easy-to-use design, this telescope is an excellent choice for both beginner and intermediate astronomers seeking a high-quality viewing experience.

Featuring a 150mm (6-inch) aperture and a focal length of 1200mm, the XT6 Classic Dobsonian telescope offers remarkable light-gathering capability, allowing you to observe a wide range of celestial objects in impressive detail.

Whether you’re observing the Moon’s craters, the rings of Saturn, or distant nebulae, this telescope delivers crisp and clear views.

The Dobsonian mount design is known for its simplicity and stability. The XT6 features a sturdy wooden base and a smooth altazimuth mount, making it easy to navigate the night sky with precision.

The telescope’s large parabolic primary mirror ensures minimal optical aberrations, providing you with bright and sharp views of various astronomical targets.

Setting up the XT6 Classic Dobsonian is straightforward and requires no tools. The telescope’s tube assembly easily attaches to the mount, and the included red-dot finder helps you accurately locate objects in the sky.

The telescope’s intuitive design allows beginners to quickly familiarize themselves with its operation, making it an ideal choice for those new to astronomy.

Key Specifications:

  1. Aperture: 150mm (6 inches)
  2. Focal Length: 1200mm
  3. Focal Ratio: f/8
  4. Mount Type: Dobsonian
  5. Precision 2″ Crayford focuser with 1.25″ adapter, allowing use of 1.25″ eyepieces or optional 2″ eyepiece
  6. Includes 25mm eyepiece
  7. Orion Shorty 2x Barlow Lens
  8. Orion’s MoonMap 260, DeepMap 600, and Telescope Observer’s Guide
  9. RedBeam Mini flashlight
  10. Smartphone photo adapter
  11. Maximum Useful Magnification: 300x
  12. Optical Design: Newtonian Reflector
  13. Weight: 36 lbs (16.3 kg)


  1. Impressive Light Gathering: The 150mm aperture provides excellent light-gathering capability, allowing for detailed observations of celestial objects.
  2. Stable and Easy-to-Use Mount: The Dobsonian mount offers stability and smooth movement, making it simple to navigate the night sky and track objects.
  3. High-Quality Optics: The large parabolic primary mirror ensures excellent image quality and minimizes optical aberrations.
  4. Beginner-Friendly Design: The intuitive setup and operation make it accessible for beginners to start exploring the night sky.
  5. Versatile Observations: The XT6 Classic Dobsonian is suitable for observing a wide range of celestial objects, including the Moon, planets, and deep-sky targets.


  1. Portability: The XT6 is a substantial telescope, weighing 36 lbs (16.3 kg), which may limit its portability for travel or outdoor excursions.
  2. Manual Tracking: The Dobsonian mount requires manual adjustments to track objects as they move across the sky.
  3. Collimation: Aligning the mirrors, is necessary for optimal performance but may require some practice for beginners.
  4. Limited Accessories: Additional eyepieces or filters may be desired for more diverse observing experiences.

The Sarblue Mak60 Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope is a compact and versatile instrument that offers excellent portability without compromising on performance.

Designed for beginners and casual observers, this tabletop telescope combines convenience with powerful optics to deliver impressive views of the night sky.

With its 60mm aperture and a focal length of 700mm, the Mak60 telescope provides clear and detailed views of celestial objects.

The Maksutov-Cassegrain optical design incorporates a combination of mirrors and lenses to minimize aberrations, resulting in sharp and high-contrast images.

Whether you’re observing the Moon’s craters, the planets, or distant star clusters, this telescope provides enjoyable and rewarding views.
The telescope’s compact and lightweight design makes it ideal for on-the-go observing sessions. It comes with a tabletop tripod that provides stability and convenience for setup.
The included adjustable red-dot finder aids in aligning the telescope with celestial objects, allowing for easy navigation through the night sky.

Key Specifications:

  1. Aperture: 60mm (2.36 inches)
  2. Focal Length: 700mm
  3. Focal Ratio: f/11.7
  4. Includes 20mm eyepiece
  5. Optical Design: Maksutov-Cassegrain
  6. Mount Type: Tabletop Tripod
  7. Weight: 2.5 lbs (1.13 kg)


  1. Compact and Portable: The tabletop design and lightweight construction make the Mak60 telescope easy to carry and set up, perfect for travel or backyard observing.
  2. High-Quality Optics: The Maksutov-Cassegrain design delivers crisp and detailed views of celestial objects with minimal optical aberrations.
  3. Versatile Observations: The telescope is suitable for a wide range of celestial targets, including the Moon, planets, and brighter deep-sky objects.
  4. Affordable Entry-Level Option: The Mak60 telescope provides an affordable entry point into the world of astronomy without compromising on performance.


  1. Limited Aperture: The 60mm aperture restricts the telescope’s light-gathering ability, making it less suitable for fainter and more distant celestial objects.
  2. Tabletop Stability: While the tabletop tripod provides convenience, it may be prone to slight vibrations, requiring careful handling during observations.
  3. Limited Accessories: The telescope may benefit from additional eyepieces or filters to enhance the viewing experience, which may need to be purchased separately.
  4. Manual Tracking: The telescope’s tabletop mount requires manual adjustments to track objects as they move across the sky, which may require practice and patience.

The Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope is a compact and powerful telescope designed for both beginners and intermediate astronomers.

With its portable and user-friendly design, this telescope offers impressive views of the night sky and is perfect for backyard stargazing or on-the-go observations.

Featuring a 4.5-inch (114mm) aperture and a focal length of 450mm, the StarBlast 4.5 Astro provides excellent light-gathering capabilities, allowing for clear and detailed views of celestial objects.

The reflector design offers a wide field of view, making it ideal for observing the Moon, planets, star clusters, and even some brighter deep-sky objects.

The telescope comes with a sturdy tabletop base that provides stability and ease of use. Its compact size makes it convenient for transport, and it can be set up quickly for impromptu stargazing sessions.

The included EZ Finder II reflex sight helps in locating objects in the night sky, making it easier for beginners to navigate and explore the cosmos.

Key Specifications:

  1. Aperture: 4.5 inches (114mm)
  2. Focal Length: 450mm
  3. Focal Ratio: f/4
  4. Optical Design: Newtonian Reflector
  5. Mount Type: Altazimuth
  6. Includes two Explorer II 1.25″ Kellner telescope eyepieces (17mm and 6mm)
  7. Finderscope: EZ Finder II reflex sight
  8. Includes DeepMap 600, MoonMap 260 and collimation cap
  9. Weight: 13 lbs (5.9 kg)


  1. Portable and Compact: The tabletop design and lightweight construction make the StarBlast 4.5 Astro telescope highly portable, allowing for easy transportation to different observation sites.
  2. Affordable Entry-Level Option: Excellent value for its price, making it an accessible choice for individuals starting their astronomy journey.
  3. Impressive Views: With its 4.5-inch aperture and short focal length, this telescope offers bright and detailed views of celestial objects, including the Moon, planets, and some deep-sky objects.
  4. Beginner-Friendly: The tabletop base and intuitive controls make it easy for beginners to set up and use the telescope, enabling them to quickly start exploring the night sky.
  5. Wide Field of View: The reflector design provides a wide field of view, allowing for the observation of larger celestial objects such as star clusters and extended nebulae.


  1. Altazimuth Mount Limitations: The altazimuth mount lacks automated tracking and requires manual adjustments to keep objects in view. This may require some practice and patience, especially when observing at high magnifications.
  2. Limited Accessories: Additional eyepieces or filters may be desired for expanding the range of observations, and these may need to be purchased separately.

Celestron has revolutionized the world of manual telescopes with the StarSense Explorer LT 80AZ.

This innovative telescope harnesses the power of your smartphone to offer a guided tour of the night sky, making stargazing accessible and enjoyable for beginners and astronomy enthusiasts alike.

With its award-winning and patented StarSense sky recognition technology, the telescope utilizes your smartphone to analyze star patterns overhead and calculate its precise position in real-time.

By downloading the StarSense Explorer app, you can automatically generate a list of celestial objects currently visible.

From planets and star clusters to brighter nebulae and galaxies, you can explore a variety of fascinating astronomical wonders, even from urban environments.

The StarSense Explorer LT 80AZ features an 80mm refractor with fully coated glass optics, ensuring bright and sharp views of celestial objects.

It includes two eyepieces (25mm and 10mm) that provide magnifications of 36x and 90x, respectively.

The telescope also comes with a 2x Barlow lens to double the power of each eyepiece, expanding your observational capabilities.

The included StarPointer red dot finderscope allows for easy alignment and target acquisition, and an erect image diagonal provides a comfortable viewing experience.

The telescope is mounted on a manual altazimuth mount with altitude slow-motion adjustment, offering precise control and smooth tracking of celestial objects.

The mount is complemented by an adjustable full-height tripod, providing stability and ease of use.

The StarSense Explorer LT 80AZ is designed for convenience and portability, weighing just 9.2 pounds, making it ideal for taking on camping trips or to remote observing sites.

Key Specifications:

  1. Aperture: 80mm (3.1 inches)
  2. Focal Length: 900mm (35.43 inches)
  3. Focal Ratio: f/11
  4. Eyepiece 1: 25mm (0.98 inches), providing a magnification of 36x
  5. Eyepiece 2: 10mm (0.39 inches), providing a magnification of 90x
  6. Barlow Lens: 2x (1.25 inches)
  7. Finderscope: StarPointer red dot finderscope
  8. Star Diagonal: Erect image 90° (1.25 inches)
  9. Mount Type: Manual Alt-Azimuth
  10. Tripod: Adjustable full-height aluminum tripod
  11. Total Kit Weight: 9.2 lbs (4.17 kg)


  1. Innovative StarSense technology for guided sky tours using your smartphone.
  2. Compact and lightweight design for portability and easy setup.
  3. Fully coated glass optics for bright and sharp views.
  4. Included accessories such as eyepieces and Barlow lens enhance versatility.
  5. Manual altazimuth mount with altitude slow-motion adjustment for precise tracking.


  1. Relies on a smartphone for operation, which may require compatible devices and apps.
  2. Limited to manual altazimuth mount, which may not provide advanced tracking capabilities.
  3. The telescope may benefit from additional accessories for expanded observational options.

The ExploraPro 70 Maksutov telescope is a fantastic choice for beginner stargazers seeking a compact and portable instrument that delivers exceptional views of celestial objects.

With its advanced Maksutov-Cassegrain optics and user-friendly features, this telescope offers a remarkable combination of performance and convenience.

Featuring a 70mm aperture and a focal length of 700mm, the ExploraPro 70 Maksutov telescope provides crisp and detailed views of the Moon, planets, and deep-sky objects.

Its Maksutov-Cassegrain design utilizes a front meniscus lens and a concave primary mirror, which work together to minimize spherical aberration and enhance image quality. This means you’ll experience sharp and well-defined views of distant galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters.

Equipped with an altazimuth mount, the telescope is incredibly easy to set up and operate. The included sturdy aluminum tripod ensures stability and precision tracking as you navigate the night sky.

The telescope’s compact size and lightweight construction make it an excellent choice for backyard observing sessions or even for taking it on the go to your favorite dark-sky locations.

The ExploraPro 70 Maksutov telescope allows you to explore finer details on the Moon’s surface and observe the cloud belts of Jupiter. Its 90-degree erect image diagonal provides comfortable viewing angles, making it suitable for both celestial observations and terrestrial viewing.

The package also includes two eyepieces: a 25mm eyepiece for wider fields of view and a 10mm eyepiece for higher magnification.

This allows you to adapt your viewing experience to different celestial objects and observing conditions.

Additionally, the telescope features a red-dot finder scope that aids in aligning and locating objects in the sky with ease.

Key Specifications:

  1. Aperture: 70mm (2.75 Inches)
  2. Focal Length: 700mm
  3. Focal Ratio: f/10
  4. Mount Type: Altazimuth
  5. Maximum Useful Magnification: 165x
  6. Optical Design: Maksutov-Cassegrain
  7. Tripod: Aluminum
  8. Smartphone Adapter included
  9. Three 1.25” eyepieces included (4mm, 10mm, 20mm)
  10. Finder Scope: Red dot finder scope
  11. Barlow lens included (2x)
  12. Weight: Approximately 12 pounds


  1. Portability: The compact size and lightweight construction make it easy to transport and set up in various locations.
  2. Excellent Image Quality: The Maksutov-Cassegrain optics provide sharp and detailed views of the Moon, planets, and deep-sky objects.
  3. User-Friendly: The altazimuth mount and included accessories make it simple to operate, even for beginners.
  4. Versatile Viewing: The included eyepieces and erect image diagonal allow for both celestial and terrestrial observations.
  5. Value for Money: The ExploraPro 70 Maksutov telescope offers a great balance of performance and affordability.
  6. Red-dot finder scope for easier object location.


  1. Limited Aperture: The 70mm aperture restricts the amount of light gathering capability, which may limit observation of fainter deep-sky objects.
  2. Manual Tracking: The altazimuth mount requires manual adjustments to track celestial objects as they move across the sky.
  3. Limited Accessories: The included eyepieces are basic, and additional accessories may be desired.

The ToyerBee Refractor Telescope is designed to ignite your curiosity about the cosmos. With its high magnification and 70mm large aperture, this telescope offers breathtaking views of celestial objects, making it perfect for both astronomy enthusiasts and beginners.

Featuring two eyepieces, H20mm and H6mm, and a 3X Barlow lens, the telescope provides a magnification range of 15X to 150X.

Whether you’re observing the moon’s craters, Jupiter’s moons, or Saturn’s rings, the ToyerBee telescope delivers clear and detailed images.

It is also capable of terrestrial viewing, allowing you to explore the wonders of the world around you.

Setting up the telescope is a breeze, even for beginners. The installation process is straightforward, and the included installation manual and video instructions guide you every step of the way.
With its easy-to-use focus mechanism, you can quickly locate and observe your desired targets, making it an excellent choice for kids aged 8-12 as well.
The telescope comes with a wireless remote and a phone adapter, allowing you to capture stunning photos effortlessly.
Simply mount your smartphone on the adapter, connect it to the eyepiece, and use the wireless remote to capture clear and bright images of the celestial objects you observe.

Key Specifications:

  1. Type: Refractor
  2. Aperture: 70mm (2.76 inches)
  3. Focal Length: 300mm
  4. Eyepieces: 20mm (15X) and 6mm (50X)
  5. Barlow lens 3
  6. Finder scope
  7. Tripod
  8. Phone adapter
  9. Star map
  10. Weight 3.54 lbs


  1. Easy to assemble and use, suitable for beginners and kids
  2. High magnification range for detailed observations
  3. Large 70mm aperture for clear and bright images
  4. Wireless remote and phone adapter for easy photography
  5. Versatile for both celestial and terrestrial viewing


  1. Limited to a maximum magnification of 150X
  2. Tripod stability could be improved for more steady observations
  3. Phone compatibility may vary, requiring adjustments for different smartphone models.

Telescope Glossary - Understanding telescopes

The Beginner’s Telescope Glossary, your go-to guide for understanding the fascinating world of telescopes.

Telescope Glossary

  1. Telescope: An optical instrument designed to gather and magnify light, allowing users to observe distant objects such as celestial bodies.

  2. Refractor Telescope: A type of telescope that uses lenses to collect and focus light. It is known for providing sharp and clear images.

  3. Reflector Telescope: A type of telescope that uses mirrors to gather and focus light. It is generally more affordable and offers a larger aperture for light gathering.

  4. Aperture: The diameter of the main optical component (lens or mirror) of a telescope. A larger aperture allows more light to enter, resulting in brighter and clearer images.

  5. Magnification: The degree to which a telescope enlarges the apparent size of an object. It is determined by the combination of the telescope’s focal length and the eyepiece used.

  6. Eyepiece: A removable lens that determines the magnification and field of view of the telescope. Different eyepieces offer varying levels of magnification.

  7. Focal Length: The distance from the main lens or mirror of a telescope to the point where light rays converge. A longer focal length generally provides higher magnification.

  8. Mount: The support system for a telescope, which allows it to be pointed and tracked accurately. Common types include altazimuth and equatorial mounts.

  9. Altazimuth Mount: A mount that moves vertically (altitude) and horizontally (azimuth), providing basic up-down and left-right motions for easier object tracking.

  10. Equatorial Mount: A mount designed to align with Earth’s axis, allowing for easy tracking of celestial objects as they appear to move across the sky.

  11. Go-To Telescope: A telescope with a computerized mount that can automatically locate and track celestial objects. It simplifies the process of finding specific targets.

  12. Finder Scope: A small, low-magnification telescope mounted alongside the main telescope. It helps in locating and centering objects before viewing them through the main telescope.

  13. Dobsonian Telescope: A type of reflector telescope that uses a simple and stable altazimuth mount, making it popular for beginners due to its ease of use and affordability.

  14. Collimation: The process of aligning the optical elements of a telescope, such as mirrors or lenses, to ensure optimal image quality.

  15. Barlow Lens: An accessory that increases the effective focal length of the telescope, resulting in higher magnification.

  16. Tripod: A three-legged support stand for telescopes, providing stability during observations. Ensure it is sturdy and adjustable for comfortable viewing.

  17. Portable: Refers to telescopes that are lightweight, compact, and easy to transport. Portable telescopes are ideal for stargazing on the go.

  18. Star Chart or Planisphere: A map of the night sky that helps identify constellations, stars, and other celestial objects at specific times and locations.

  19. Astrophotography: The art of capturing images of celestial objects using a camera attached to a telescope. It allows for stunning photographs of planets, galaxies, and nebulae.

  20. Light Pollution: The interference of artificial light sources, such as streetlights or buildings, that reduces the visibility of stars and other celestial objects. Dark sky locations offer better observing conditions.

With this glossary in your hands, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to make informed decisions when selecting a telescope for your kids or embarking on your own astronomical journey.

Bending space N’ time to bring you the best telescope and it’s accessories reviews for viewing planets, galaxies and deep space objects!

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