You can get a wide range of telescopes for under $ 500, but we’ve rounded up some of our favorites below. While current industry shortages mean you won’t find many deals on these models, despite the threat of Black Friday, the models below are so reasonably priced that they shouldn’t disrupt your business too much. bank balance anyway.
When buying a new telescope, there is a lot to consider. One of the most important things to understand is the different types of glasses available. We go into great detail in our roundup of the best telescopes for 2021, but as a very quick review the basic telescope types are: reflector, refractor, and computerized. Reflectors are great for looking at planets, while refractors are better for deep space. Computerized telescopes have built-in systems that use GPS, so you don’t have to manually try to locate objects in the sky – some of the best telescopes for beginners fall into this category, due to this ease of use. use.
Anyone who is completely new to stargazing may also consider getting hold of some of the best binoculars. While not as useful for looking into deep space, these optics are ideal if you’re scanning the sky for meteor showers or trying to gaze at the Milky Way – and there are some good binoculars deals, too.
Telescopes under $ 500
If you’re looking to spend the maximum of $ 500, we recommend a few telescopes: the Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ and the Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ.
The StarSense DX 130AZ Explorer is a brilliant reflector telescope for beginners, offering users the ability to observe galaxies, nebulae, planets and star clusters. You can use it with the StarSense app, which makes navigating the sky a lot easier, and it’s also super portable, so ideal for those who go astro-camping.
The cheapest StarSense DX 102AZ Explorer is another good option for beginners, again giving you the ability to hook up your telescope to your smartphone and explore the sky with ease. This one is a refractor, so it’s great for looking at bright deep sky objects such as nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies.
Telescopes under $ 300
There are several telescopes under $ 300 that are worth your money.
First of all, the Orion StarMax 90 table top, a ready-to-use computerized telescope. This makes astronomy easy for beginners, so it’s perfect if you have a young child who is starting to take an interest in observing the sky.
We also like the AstroMaster Celestron 102AZ. It’s a bit of a “no-frills” refractor telescope, so you’ll need to be able to find your own way around the constellations. We like it to be really portable, so you can pack and transport it easily.
There are also two Orion oscilloscopes worth mentioning in this price bracket: Orion StarBlast II 4.5 Equalizer and the Astro Orion StarBlast 4.5 reflector. The Astro Reflector comes out of the box, so it’s another one that’s great for kids, while the EQ mount requires some assembly.
Aspiring astrophotographers might appreciate Celestron Inspire 100AZ Refractor Telescope, because it comes with a smartphone adapter that will allow you to take some pictures. Sadly, you’re really limited to short exposure photography with this model, but it’s still a solid telescope for this price bracket.
Finally, we also recommend the Meade Instruments StarPro 102 scope, which is a classic scope ideal for those who are happy to navigate the night sky without the aid of apps or technology.
Telescopes under $ 200
In this price bracket, most telescopes will cater to beginners or children, but there are still a few models to highlight.
The Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 114AZ is another good choice for new astrophotographers, who want to get a simple telescope for their hobby. The setup takes about 20 minutes, but it can be connected to the StarSense app, making it easy to navigate.
We also like the Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ, which we consider to be one of the best telescopes for enthusiasts or beginners who want to improve their skills. It has a generous aperture for this price bracket (127mm), but it comes with surprisingly poor quality accessories, so you may have to buy new eyepieces.
You can also pack the Orion Observer II 70 refracting telescope for under $ 200. We are really evaluating this model to look at the planets; when we tested it, we were able to get clear views of Jupiter, Saturn and even Uranus and Neptune.
Finally, you will also find the Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ In this section. The build of this model is not the most rugged, so young astronomers will need to be watched when handling it, but we did manage to get clear views of the moon, Jupiter, and Venus on this telescope.
Telescopes under $ 100
When you get to telescopes of this price, you are really looking at toys that are primarily aimed at young people. This is not to dismiss them though, as they make great Christmas gifts. If you’re looking for more tips in this area, take a look at our roundup of the best kid’s telescopes.
We really like the Celestron FirstScope 76 for a gift idea. It’s sturdy, so it can take a few bumps, and it’s really easy to set up and store. It only weighs 4.5 pounds too, so you can easily take it with you when camping.
If you are looking for a more classic bezel, you may prefer the Orion SpaceProbe II 76, which comes with the standard tripod configuration. It offers an unobstructed view of the solar system, the lunar surface and a selection of bright deep sky targets up close.