Best Beginner Telescopes

Let’s be real – there’s nothing worse than spending hard-earned cash on a telescope that completely ruins the stargazing experience especially if you are a beginner. Excitedly setting up the new scope, only to spend hours fiddling and struggling to find anything worth looking at. By the end of the night, frustration, fatigue, and a desire to quit this hobby altogether.

That’s why we have created this guide of the best telescopes for beginners to save you all from that disappointing fate. In here we will break down the key factors that make or break a telescope so you can make informed decisions on purchasing your telescopes that will be with you for years to come. We also give you our top 5 choices for beginner-friendly telescopes worth investing as you get started on your stargazing journey.

What to look for when buying a telescope

1. Choose the right aperture size

When it comes to telescopes, aperture is king. A telescope’s primary job is to gather light, and the more light it can collect, the better your views will be. The aperture refers to the diameter of the main optical component – either the mirror for a reflector telescope or the lens for a refractor.

For beginners, you’ll want an aperture of at least 3 inches (76mm). Anything smaller than 76mm will severely limit what you can see beyond the moon and a few bright star clusters. Avoid the temptation of cheap department store telescopes which often have poor quality optics that won’t focus properly.

A sweet spot for your first serious telescope is around the 4-5 inch aperture range. At this size, you’ll be able to enjoy hundreds of deep sky objects like galaxies and nebulae.

Best telescopes with 76mm+ aperture size

Gskyer Telescope, 80mm Refractor Telescope

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Hexeum 80mm Refractor Telescope

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2. Pick the right telescope size

Keep in mind that a bigger aperture usually means a larger, heavier telescope that requires more effort to setup and transport.

So in order to continue using the telescope rather than it collect dirt in a corner because its to heavy to carry around, its best balance your aperture desires with something portable enough for your lifestyle.

Best compact and portable telescopes

Celestron - 80mm Portable Refractor Telescope

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Abotec Portable Refractor Telescope

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Choosing the right telescope eyepiece

Eyepieces are just as important as the main optics when it comes to getting an enjoyable viewing experience. The eyepiece’s job is to magnify and present the image from the telescope in a way that is sharp, clear and color-corrected.

Stay away from telescopes that come with outdated “Huygens” style eyepieces from the 1600s. These provide a narrow field of view and suffer from optical aberrations.

 Instead, look for models that include modern eyepieces like Kellners or Plössls which offer a wider, more immersive view.

Also pay attention to the eyepiece barrel size. Quality eyepieces use a 1.25″ or 2″ barrel size that fits standard focusers.

Avoid telescopes with 0.965″ barrels as these are lower quality and limiting when you want to upgrade.

A good starter set would be a Plössl eyepiece collection in common focal lengths like 25mm and 10mm. This provides a range of magnifications to view different objects.

1.25" 10mm Super Ploessl Eyepiece

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Plossl lens
Ploessl Eyepiece Kit

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Other things to consider for beginner telescopes


• Aim for eyepieces that provide around 50x per inch of aperture as a maximum useful magnification
• A good starter set includes a low power 25mm or 32mm eyepiece and a medium power 10mm eyepiece
• Avoid scopes advertising unrealistically high magnifications that will just lead to a blurry view

The Mount:

• For beginners, an Altitude-Azimuth (Alt-Az) mount that moves up/down and left/right is preferable
• Equatorial mounts designed for astrophotography can be overly complex when starting out
• Look for a solid, sturdy mount without any shakiness or bouncing when adjusting
• Avoid flimsy, wobbly mounts which make it very difficult to keep objects in view

5 Best and Affordable Telescopes for Beginners

Here are our top choices in the best telescopes that beginners should consider purchasing. We picked these 5 because they are great telescopes that are also easy to carry, easy to set up, easy to use and will last you a long time.

1. Polaris 114mm Aperture, Portable Reflecting Telescope


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2. Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope

Orion Starblast

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3. Orion SkyScanner BL135mm Dobsonian Reflector Telescope


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4. Orion Skyline 8" Dobsonian Reflector Telescope


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5. Celestron – StarSense Explorer 8-inch Dobsonian Smartphone App-Enabled Telescope


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