The best telescopes for beginners have a quick and easy setup, so you can look forward to spending more time looking at stars. You’ll spend less time messing around trying to get the telescope to work correctly, making these scopes excellent contenders.
Whether you hope to see the Moon’s craters or catch a glimpse of Saturn’s rings, these beginner telescopes are great for budding astronomers. There is a mix of great optic choices and affordable prices. The key to buying a beginner telescope is getting one you can use, not one that you might be able to use after intensive training (and a lot of youtube videos.)
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Check out our list of best telescopes for kids, and you’ll see that Gskyer’s 70mm aperture scope tops it. So it’s no surprise Gskyer 90mm tops our best telescopes for beginners list.
The Gskyer 600 x 90mm AZ Astronomical Refractor Telescope is an excellent entry-level telescope for beginner astronomers. It has a great price with a high aperture for a refractor telescope. The mid-range focal ratio, f/6.6, is perfect for seeing stars or nearby planets for kids and adults.
This telescope is easy for beginners since you don’t need to perform maintenance, making planet-viewing accessible to everyone. It also has a low learning curve, so you’ll use it more quickly instead of scratching your head over instruction guides.
Best Dobsonian: Sky-Watcher Classic 250 Dobsonian
Modern Dobsonians are excellent for beginning astronomers since users get high apertures for their money. In addition, the optimized simple design lets you visually observe faint objects, like galaxies and star clusters. Sky-Watcher follows the traditional Dobsonian design with only two mirrors, a metal tube, and a rocker box.
Use star charts to find sky objects, rather than connected smartphone apps or computerized motors. So instead of using electronics, you’ll discover planets the more traditional way.
Best Computerized: Celestron NexStar 4SE
Read the review of Celestron’s NexStar 8SE on our best telescopes to use at home list. This telescope has the same great features, but the smaller 4-inch (102mm) aperture brings the cost down, making it an excellent choice for beginners.
Celestron uses high-quality lens optics for the best night sky viewing possible. With this NexStar 4SE, beginner enthusiasts can see planets and deep-sky objects like nebulae and galaxies.
This telescope is excellent for beginners interested in astrophotography. Connect your camera and use the computerized mount to track the sky object for long exposures. A little post-editing turns out exciting images of stars and planets.
Best Phone App: Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 80AZ
This smartphone app-enabled beginner telescope helps you find sky objects with the StarSense app. Connect your phone to the scope’s topside, select a destination, and use the on-screen arrows to navigate to your target. A bullseye turns green when you should see the object in the telescope eyepiece. How easy is that to navigate the night skies?
The mount is a manual altazimuth with slow-motion adjustment control. So you can make minute adjustments when targeting a star or planet. Celestron uses stars above you to pinpoint your location and suggest viewing objects.
Best Reflector Telescope: Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ
A considerable advantage of reflector-style telescopes for beginners is your ability to use them for night sky and daytime viewing. Terrestrial viewing doubles the duty of this scope since you set it up once, then use it twice: for birds and stars. Set up is quick, easy, and requires no tools.
Celestron’s optics are excellent, even in this entry-level price range. So you get high transmission coatings on all glass components. That improves the image clarity without haziness from sunshine or bright stars.
Best Backyard Moon-Gazing: Gskyer 130EQ Reflector Telescope
Gskyer makes it easy to switch out eyepieces on this telescope for beginners. So once you find a sky object on a broader field of view, narrow it down for details on the Moon’s craters. You might even locate the Man on the Moon. Who knows?
Then use the Bluetooth functionality to connect to your smartphone and take pictures. You can even Livestream Moon videos if that’s your thing. So if a simple and carefree option sounds like the best alternative, Gskyer is an excellent choice for viewing the Moon and bright stars.
Best Price for Astroimages: Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST
The Orion 09007 is a solid choice for beginning to take astroimages. It doesn’t have a computerized mount, but you can add one after getting the basics down. The ability to upgrade this telescope as your skills grow is a big plus.
This scope lets you grow as an astronomer. Starting from the assembly, you learn the parts of the telescope and how it all functions together. It takes about 30 minutes to an hour for your very first assembly. It has a decent mount for the price to help keep movement to a minimum.
Best Easy Setup: Celestron Inspire 100AZ
This entry-level telescope for beginners departs from Celestron’s signature orange tube. Instead, it is blue with orange accents. This scope has all of Celestron’s qualities with the most straightforward setup imaginable.
There’s an easy-to-connect smartphone adaptor at the eyepiece. So you can view the skies through the eyepiece or your phone’s camera. The finder scope is ample to locate targets. And there’s a red LED flashlight to adjust without losing your night vision.
Best Simple Design: Slokey Skyways 50080 Telescope
This telescope manufacturer gives beginning astronomers a reasonable expectation of the images they’ll see. Yes, you’ll see Jupiter. But you likely won’t have the detail to see the Great Red Spot. On the other hand, you may see Saturn’s rings on a clear night, and the image above provides a decent idea of how it will look through this telescope.
Slokey’s simple design has an easy setup so you can use this telescope as soon as the stargazing-urge hits. It uses a red dot-pointing system to navigate your desired viewing target easier. Then zoom up to take pictures through the smartphone adaptor.
Best Stargazing: Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ Newtonian
Celestron’s AstroMaster 130EQ Newtonian telescope for beginners uses an equatorial mount. You can find and track stars and planets with slow-motion controls. That means more viewing time and less searching time.
You’ll get sharp views of Jupiter’s moons and Saturn’s rings, which inspires any new sky gazer. In addition, the Starry Night astronomy download has an enormous database of nearly 40,000 sky objects. Print star charts and sky maps, and learn about celestial objects to understand your observations better.
Best Telescopes for Beginners- Wrap Up
When choosing one of the best telescopes for beginners, there are a few things to keep in mind. You want to identify what your goal is and make sure that you are purchasing equipment that will help you reach that goal. That being said we also want to remind you to stay realistic with what you’ll be able to see as a new stargazer. It may not be practical to try and see the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula the first time you set up your telescope, but it can absolutely be practical to see some planets and the moon!