Best telescopes

telescope on city balcony
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Telescopes are a wonderful way to enhance objects or events that cannot be seen by the naked eye. With these powerful tools, you can zoom in and analyze an object in its truest form. Which telescope is right for you? That all depends on what you want to see. We've gathered the best telescopes for every purpose and budget. Come along and take a look.

Staff pick

Gskyer travel telescope

(Image credit: Amazon)

Gskyer travel telescope (opens in new tab)

Compatible with your smartphone

The Gskyer travel telescope packs up in a travel bag, zooms to 400 millimeters, and lets you view everything on your smartphone or through the eyepiece.

Pros:

  • 400-millimeter focal length
  • 70-millimeter aperture
  • Two replaceable eyepieces included
  • Wireless remote
  • Adjustable tripod
  • Good value

Cons:

  • Instructions could be better

The Gskyer telescope includes two replaceable eyepieces and a 3x Barlow lens, making it an excellent choice for clearly observing distant objects or events. If you prefer viewing images on your smartphone rather than staring through the 70-millimeter lens for long periods, the included smartphone adapter and wireless remote make this possible. When peering through the scope, the crosshair lines make pinpointing your target easy. The included adjustable tripod and travel bag make this the best choice for viewing the stars in your neighborhood park or setting it up in your backyard.

Best value

Celestron Travel Scope 70 telescope

(Image credit: Celestron, LLC.)

Celestron Travel Scope 70 telescope (opens in new tab)

Great for beginners

The budget-friendly Celestron Travel Scope 70 is lightweight, comes with astronomy software, and includes two eyepieces.

Pros:

  • 70-millimeter lens
  • Two eyepieces 
  • Tripod, carry backpack, and software included
  • Portable
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • You may want to upgrade the tripod

Featuring a lightweight build and an affordable price tag, the Celestron Travel Scope 70 is one of the best beginner models you can buy. With it, you can effortlessly enhance objects for optimal observation and analysis. The frame packs up in the included travel bag when not in use or for trips on the road. When you're ready to magnify and view an object, you can place this telescope onto its included tripod for a more steady view. This telescope also comes with free astronomy software, one 20-millimeter eyepiece, and one 10-millimeter eyepiece. 

Best light-gathering

Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ telescope

(Image credit: Amazon)

Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ telescope (opens in new tab)

Great for observing slow moving objects

Navigate the night sky with this Newtonian reflector telescope from Celestron and the included Starry Night Astronomy software package.

Pros:

  • Accurate pointing
  • Two eyepieces and 3x Barlow lens
  • Manual German Equatorial mount
  • Easy to align finder scope
  • Good light gathering

Cons:

  • Directions miss the mark

If you're searching for a telescope that allows you to magnify and enhance objects up to three times their size, the Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ telescope should be at the top of your list. The PowerSeeker features a 3x Barlow lens and two eyepieces, including 20 millimeters and 4 millimeters, and also has a German Equatorial mount and slow-moving altitude rod to watch moving objects. Take this telescope with you while camping to observe birds or to stargaze at night.

Best view finder

Meade Instruments Infinity telescope

(Image credit: Amazon)

Meade Instruments Infinity telescope (opens in new tab)

Pinpoint all of your targets

You can quickly locate stars and planets with the red-dot viewfinder in the Meade Instruments Infinity telescope.

Pros:

  • 70-millimeter focal length
  • 700-millimeter viewing
  • 26 millimeter and 9-millimeter magnification eyepieces included
  • 2x Barlow lens
  • Instructional DVD and astro software included

Cons:

  • You'll probably want to upgrade the tripod

The Meade Instruments Infinity telescope is excellent for viewing and tracking slow-moving objects or animals at a distance with its built-in slow-motion control settings. The Altazimuth mount and red-dot viewfinder make locating your target quick and easy, so you never have to worry about missing an important event during your outing. With three various-sized eyepieces and a 2x Barlow lens, you can ensure that your viewing experience is clear and bright. 

Best advanced

Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian telescope

(Image credit: Amazon)

Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian telescope (opens in new tab)

Great for stargazing

The 2 to 3-millimeter aperture and 8-inch reflector optics in the Orion SkyQuest give intermediate and advanced users a view they won’t forget.

Pros:

  • 8-inch reflector optics
  • Stable base
  • 2-inch Crayford focuser
  • Starry Night software included
  • 203-millimeter aperture

Cons:

  • Pricier option

If you're searching for a telescope that can grasp enough light to view distant celestial objects, then the Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian telescope is the best choice. This telescope features a far-reaching 8-inch optic lens that rests on a Dobsonian base, making stargazing fun and easy. The built-in 2-inch Crayford focuser is compatible with multiple eyepieces to enhance your target object further. This telescope also comes with Starry Night software.

Take a look at our top three

The Gskyer travel telescope (opens in new tab) is one of the best models around. It’s a budget-priced and beginner-friendly model with a 400-millimeter zoom and 70-millimeter aperture. This kit comes with everything you need to get started, and you can set it up to view images up close on your smartphone.

The Celestron Travel Scope 70 telescope (opens in new tab) is lightweight enough to tote around in the included backpack. It’s the perfect scope for beginners taking their first peeks at the night sky. And it's the most affordable telescope on this list.

If you're looking for a telescope that can help observe slow-moving objects over a period of time, the Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ telescope (opens in new tab) is your best bet. It features a German Equatorial mount and a slow-moving altitude rod, allowing you to seamlessly follow your target without losing focus.

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