Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ Telescope
Orion 10019 SkyQuest XT10i IntelliScope Telescope
Celestron 21061 AstroMaster 70AZ Refractor Telescope
Looking up at the night sky is one of the oldest pastimes there is. For thousands of years, we’ve gazing up and wondering what’s out there. Before the invention of telescopes, people had no real idea about what they were looking at and were left to dream. Then, in around 1608, a Dutch eyeglass maker called Hans Lippershey tried to obtain a patent for the first telescope. A year later, a famous astrologer name Galileo invented a much more powerful telescope that could magnify objects up to 20 times.
This invention paved the way for modern astronomy and astrology. It’s one of the greatest inventions of all times. For years afterward, it was only scientists and the very rich that would ever get to use a telescope. But now, they are much more affordable and normal people can afford telescopes. You don’t have to be an expert astronomer and you don’t need a degree to use one, but it can be quite difficult to choose the right one for your needs.
In this article, we’ve done the research and found the best telescopes that you can buy for under $1000. They have all got different features and some are more powerful than others, but we believe that you would be happy with any one of them. We’ve also created an in-depth buying guide and FAQ section to answer any questions you might have about buying a telescope.
The Best Telescope
Celestron has been making high-quality telescopes for over 50 years. They’ve won a heap of awards and have gained a reputation as one of the premier telescope brands on the market today. So, when they came out with the Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ Telescope, the astronomy world took notice. It has received great reviews and is fast becoming one of the best budget telescopes you can get your hands on. It’s only around $150, which puts it towards the cheaper end of quality home telescopes.
It’s a Newtonian reflector telescope, which means it uses a mirror to gather light and reflects the image for viewing, instead of using lenses. This makes it cheaper to make and, consequently, makes it better value for an amateur astronomer. It has a 127mm (5 inches) aperture, which will allow you to view close objects like the moon in great detail. You’ll also be able to some planets, nebulas, and clusters of stars. It has glass optical components that are coated with reflective aluminum, which gives you amazing definition when you’re viewing. The EQ in the name stands for the equatorial mount, which compensates for the Earth’s rotation.
Newtonian style reflector telescope
1000mm focal length
- Weight28 pounds
Easy to use and setup
Great beginner telescope
Need to learn to align telescope (collimation)
Might want to upgrade eyepieces eventually
This is the most expensive telescope in this list. At $999, it is a premium product and offers a lot more features than some of the cheaper telescopes on the list. The main thing that makes this telescope expensive is the fact that it is a computerized telescope. It has a powerful built-in computer system that helps you detect more than 14,000 objects in outer-space. So, when you find an amazing object in the sky, you can find out immediately what you’re looking at. Not only does this feature make it an amazing experience for beginners, but it also makes it a really useful tool for more advanced astronomers.
It’s a Dobsonian reflector telescope, which is a type of Newtonian telescope, but typically has a larger aperture. That means the telescope gathers a large amount of light and can be used to view nebulas, galaxies, star clusters, and close up objects in great detail. Plus, the Orion 10019 SkyQuest XT10i IntelliScope Dobsonian Telescope has a huge scope, which means it can process information really quickly and is easy to use for beginners. This telescope is at its best when viewing objects in a faintly lit sky, but it’s still really versatile. Because of the price and the inbuilt computer, we’ve nominated this telescope as our premium choice. If money is no problem, you will have a ton of fun with this epic toy!
Dobsonian reflector telescope
Detect over 14,000 objects
300x useful magnification
- Weight31.4 pounds
Easy to assemble and portable
The in-built computer detects objects
Mirror collects dust and can be scratched
Difficult to track objects
Difficult to update computer
Meade is another telescope manufacturer known for their high-quality products. They’ve been around since the 70s and make some amazing telescopes. The Meade Instruments 216006 Polaris 130 EQ is one of their cheapest products and is one of the best home telescopes for beginners. When you are starting out you want something affordable because you don’t know how committed you are. At around $179.99, this is the perfect mix of value and quality. It might be cheap, but you still get a ton of features to get excited about.
First of all, it’s an EQ reflector telescope, which makes it perfect for beginners. For the price, the optics are incredible, and it has a decent sized aperture. That means you’ll get clear images and get to view celestial objects and planets. They won’t be in the same detail as the Orion telescope, but clear enough to see detail. The tripod and mount allow you to track objects in space as they move.
EQ Reflector telescope
650mm focal length
Red dot viewfinder
- BrandMeade Instruments
- Weight26.8 pounds
Great aperture and optics
Amazing value for the price
High-quality design and materials
Plastic components can feel cheap
Less detail than more expensive options
Back towards the more expensive end of the spectrum, we find the Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope. This is another digital telescope that offers the amazing advantages of having a built-in computer. It’s slightly cheaper than the Orion telescope featured second on this list, but it is a strong contender as one of the top telescopes for under $1000. The main difference is how small this one is, making it a brilliant portable telescope.
It has a 150mm aperture and a focal length of 1500mm, which makes it one of the highest spec telescopes on this list. It’s not necessarily a professional telescope, but it’s certainly not a beginner one either. That’s not to say that beginners wouldn’t be able to operate it. It’s amazingly simple and easy to set up, so it could be perfect if you’re a beginner who wants to invest a lot in the hobby. It has 40,000 objects in its database, which is considerably more than Orion’s database. Plus, it uses a combination of reflection and refraction, that makes it perfect for stargazing, even if you are in an area with lots of light pollution. If you have money to spend, you have to consider this telescope.
Combination relefector/ refractor telescope
In-built computer with 40,000 objects
1500mm focal length
- Weight21 pounds
No tools required for set up
40,000 objects in the inbuilt computer
Large accessory tray
Too advanced for beginners to use all features
Expensive for beginners
This is the second entry from Orion. It’s a lot cheaper than the first model, but the Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST offers an impressive selection of features for the price. Unlike the Orion 10019 XT10i, it doesn’t have an inbuilt computer, which is the main reason for the huge drop in price. Despite that, it has some pretty great reviews and is known for the amazing quality of its images.
It has an impressive 130mm aperture and a focal length of 650mm that will allow you to view the moon and nearby planets in details and will also let you look at nebulas and star clusters. It has a relatively short optical tube at 24mm which makes it perfect for taking on camping trips. It’s not going to let you view objects in deep space, but it gives enough to give you an amazing entry into the world of astronomy. Plus, it comes with two magnification options of 25x and 65x as well as the ability to track objects as they move across the sky.
Newtonian reflector telescope
650mm focal length
Short optical tube
- Weight24.2 pounds
Easy to assemble and transport
Impressive specs for the price
Portable, perfect for camping trips
More expensive than other beginner telescopes
This is the second telescope from Celestron in our list of the top telescopes for under $1000. It’s cheaper than the Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope, but at around $430 it sits somewhere in the middle of the price range. It’s one of the most affordable computerized telescopes on the market and with 4000 pre-programmed objects, there is plenty for you to search for in the night sky.
The Celestron NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope is an all-around reflector telescope with a 130mm aperture and a 650mm focal length. That gives you plenty of scope but isn’t going to provide you with the same detail as some of the more advanced digital telescopes. It has a large mirror, which gathers a lot of light and lets you view celestial objects in clear detail. If you like this telescope, but prefer a refractor style telescope, there is a sister product called the Celetron Nexstar 120SLT refractor telescope, but we would recommend sticking with the reflector model if you are a beginner. In the price range, it’s considered one of the best telescopes for astrophotography, but you have to buy the camera adapter and T2 ring separately. This is a great gift for the man who has everything.
All-around reflecting telescope
650mm focal length
In-built computer with 4000 objects
Can be modified for astrophotography
- Weight2 pounds
Very versatile for the price
One of the cheapest computerized telescopes
Sky Align feature is difficult to use
Reports of damaged mirror
The SkyWatcher S11600 Traditional Dobsonian 6-Inch is the second Dobsonian telescope in our list. It is widely assumed that Dobsonian telescopes are for more advanced astronomers and beginners will find them difficult to use. This is because Dobsonian telescopes are built for viewing deep sky objects, instead of closer objects like the moon and nearby planets. However, these days, there are a few Dobsonian that is built with beginners in mind, so that we can get a taste of what is out there in deep space.
This star telescope has a 152mm aperture and 1200mm focal length, which means you can view objects much further away. It has a high-quality rack and pinion focuser that allows even beginners to easily focus on far-away objects. It comes with two eyepieces (10mm and 25mm) which allow you to get different magnification results, and an impressive rocker mount that lets you track in slow motion. If you are just starting out in astronomy but want to view deep space, this is the telescope for you.
1200mm focal length
Two eyepieces (10mm & 25mm)
- BrandSky Watcher
- Weight54 pounds
Great beginner Dobsonian telescope
Allows you to view objects far away
High-quality rocker mount
Low aperture compared to professional telescopes
Doesn’t come collimated, so beginners will have to learn
Yet another entry from Orion, the Orion 8944 SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope is their cheaper Dobsonian telescope. At $299.99, it’s another chance for beginner astronomer to view deep space without having to fork out thousands of pounds. This telescope is widely reviewed as one of the best telescopes for under $500, so it had to have a place in our list.
It features a 152mm aperture and a focal length of 1200mm, which makes it very similar to the Skywatcher telescope featured at number seven in the list. They are really similar scopes with really similar prices, so it’s a really difficult decision to choose one. A nice feature on this telescope is the EZ finder, which projects a small red dot so that you can point the telescope exactly where you want to view. We can’t say which is better, all we can say is that they are both great entry-level Dobsonian telescopes.
1200mm focal length
- Weight34.4 pounds
One of the best Dobsonian telescopes for under $500
A very stable viewing platform
Less high-quality images than more expensive Dobsonian telescopes.
This small telescope offers amazing value for money. It’s made by Celestron, so it has an exemplary astronomy pedigree, but, at less than $100, it is really affordable. It’s the cheapest telescope for adults on this list and it still offers a really impressive range of features, which is why we’ve made it our best value product. If you want to give astronomy a go, but don’t want to lay down hundreds of dollars, this is the perfect option.
The Celestron 21061 AstroMaster 70AZ Refractor Telescope has a 70mm aperture and 900mm focal length, so you’re not going to get the same f image quality that you would see in the more expensive telescopes on the list. Having said that, you will still be able to view the moon, nearby planets, and more, in impressive detail. It is super easy to set up and requires almost no knowledge of astronomy to operate. It’s not designed as a telescope for kids, but it’s so easy to use that it could be used by kids and parents alike.
900mm focal length
- Weight21 pounds
Perfect beginner telescope for adults and kids
Easy to use and set up
Not as high spec as other, more expensive, beginner telescopes
The last telescope in our list comes from a company called Gskyer. Unlike Orion and Celeston, they are known for creating telescopes that are easy to use for beginners. The Gskyer EQ 80900 Telescope is a great mid-range refractor telescope that allows beginners to view the moon, nearby planets, and other celestial objects, without requiring a great deal of knowledge.
It’s got an 80mm aperture and 900mm focal length, which sets it nicely in the middle of cheap beginner telescopes and the more expensive options. It has excellent features like a star finder, optical coating, and adjusting wheel, which makes it a versatile telescope. The tripod is pretty high-quality and will allow you to track objects with relative ease. It’s not the best refractor telescope, but for the price, you get a lot of bang for your buck.
900mm focal length
- ModelEQ 900*80
- Weight25.3 pounds
Provides a decent middle ground between cheap and expensive beginner telescopes.
Lots of accessories.
Low aperture compared to more expensive options.
Telescope Buying Guide & FAQ
We’ve created the following buying guide to answer any question you might have about buying a telescope. All of the telescopes listed above are high-quality, but we understand that some of the jargon can be confusing, so we’ve made it simple.
How We Chose Our Selection of Telescopes
Brand – The telescopes listed in this buyer’s guide are all from respected brands. We don’t just look at the brand when we are choosing the best telescopes, but we believe you can trust these brands to make a good telescope.
Reviews – You can always trust customers to give their honest opinion. So, we scour the internet to find out how customers are reacting to products before we include them in our buying guides. With telescopes, it is important for us to read reviews, because it gives us a chance to check the manufacturer's claims. For example, with beginner telescopes, we need to know that beginners are finding them easy to use. We also read more in-depth product reviews to see what experts think. By checking a lot of reviews, we get a really good feel for the product.
Easy-to-Use – All of the telescopes on this list are suitable for amateur astronomers. They are still adult telescopes, but that doesn’t mean they have to be extremely complicated. Not everyone has the time to read pages and pages of instructions. We made sure all of the telescopes on this list are easy to use.
Design – There are tried and tested telescope designs. When we chose the 10 telescopes, we did a lot of research into the different designs of telescopes. This played an important part in choosing the best.
Price – Astronomy can be really expensive if you don’t know what you are looking for. Every telescope on this list is below $1000, but they vary in price. You really get what you pay for with telescopes, but we’ve chosen the best telescopes for different prices.
Features to Look for In Telescopes
Aperture – This is one of the most important specifications to look for when you are buying a telescope. The aperture is the diameter of the light-gathering lens or mirror. It determines the quality of the image you are going to see. The higher the aperture the sharper and brighter the image will be.
Focal Length – This specification is a little more complication. The focal length is the length over which the light is directed by the curvature of the optic. This affects the distance at which you will be able to see objects and your perpetual perspective.
Magnification – The eyepiece on your telescope will affect the magnification. Galileo’s first telescope had a magnification of 20x, but from modern telescopes, you can expect anything up to 400X.
Computer Control – You will only find this on the more expensive telescopes. The telescopes are programmed with thousands of objects in the sky, so when you find something, it can tell you immediately what the object is.
Types of Telescopes
Refractor Telescope – This is a type of optical telescope that uses a lens to form an image. You actually look through the lens and see the image. It was first used in spy glasses and astronomical telescopes and was very popular in the 19th century. These days, you are more likely to find a reflector telescope, because they offer larger apertures.
Reflector Telescope – This type of telescope uses curved mirrors that reflect light and form an image. It was invented by Isaac Newton and has been popular since the 17th Century. Now, most major telescopes are reflector telescopes.
Compound Telescope – This style of telescope mixes the two previous types together. It uses a mixture of lens and mirrors. It was invented in 1930 by a German astronomer, Bernhard Schmidt.
Positive Points of Owning a Telescope
They’re educational – Owning a telescope will teach you loads about the universe. Not only will you learn more about space, but you can also teach your kids about it too. It’s amazing how much difference having a practical lesson makes. If you sat down and tried to teach your kids about the solar system, they would get bored quickly, but let them see it for themselves and they will keep coming back for more.
Can be used in the day – Most people think that telescopes can only be used at night. In fact, most modern telescopes can be used in the day as well, which makes it the perfect activity on your day off. Take a camping trip and spend all day staring up into the sky.
You could discover something new – This might sound silly, but most astronomical discovers are made by amateurs. Spend enough time looking up there and you could become famous. Imagine that!
Things to look at during the day
- The Moon
- Daytime comets
Things to look at during the night
- The Moon
- Orion Nebula
- Andromeda Galaxy
- Hercules Cluster
- Double Cluster
- Dumbbell Nebula
How to get the Most out of your new Telescope
Learn how to use it – This sounds obvious, but you should learn how to use your new telescope. Read the instructions and watch YouTube videos to get a feel for the controls. You can learn a lot just by using it, but a bit of research beforehand will help a lot.
Learn about conditions – If you live in a built-up area, you might suffer from light pollution. You should learn about the best conditions for astronomy and know how to find them. If you need to travel to find a good spot, then you should!
Keep practicing – Don’t ever forget the old saying: practice makes perfect. It’s true of so many things in life and astronomy is definitely one of them. The more you use your telescope, the more you will understand the controls.
Research what you can see – Once you find something, you should learn about what you’re looking at. This is much easier with computerized telescopes, but it’s not impossible with manual ones. If your telescope doesn’t come with a booklet, you will be able to find the information online.
Q: What is a Telescope?
A: A telescope is an optical instrument used for looking at objects in the distant. The telescopes on this list are made for looking into the sky and seeing objects in space. These could include the moon, planets, and star clusters.
Q: Do Telescope accessories make a difference?
A: Yes. Some beginner telescopes will come with accessories such as different eyepieces. These can improve your telescope experience, but we would recommend learning to use your telescope without accessories first.
Q: What can I see with my Telescope?
A: It depends on where you look! Most beginner telescopes are capable of looking at the moon, some planets, and other celestial objects. More advanced telescopes can look further and can see star-clusters, galaxies, and more.
Q: How do I find objects in the sky?
A: First, look at objects in the distance like trees and buildings, then move onto objects in the sky. The moon is a good place to start because you can see it with the naked eye, so you know where to point.
Q: How can I correctly focus my telescope?
A: This depends on the type of telescope you have. You will need to locate the finder on your telescope and adjust it until you can see the object you are looking at clearly. If you are still finding it difficult, you should consult the instruction provided with your telescope.
Q: Image Orientation - Will the image be upside down or back to front?
A: This is surprising for most people who have never looked through a telescope before. Objects in the near distance like buildings and trees will appear upside down. Don’t worry, your telescope isn’t broken. In space, it doesn’t matter if an object is upside down or the right way up, because we have no point of reference for it. We don’t know what the surface of the moon looks like, so it doesn’t matter which way up it is.
Q: I want to take photographs through my telescope. What do I need?
A: You will need a camera adapter for your telescope and a high-quality camera. This will be different for each camera and telescope, so you will need to find the right one to fit your equipment.
Q: How do I store my Telescope?
A: Your telescope should come with a bag or box to store it in. If it doesn’t, you should find something suitable. Some people like to leave their telescopes outside. This is okay, but you should remove delicate parts like the lens and computer inside with you.