Best Telescope

Welcome to the Telescope Hub – for independent and best telescope reviews.

Are you looking for the best telescope?

Well I have to say that when we are talking about telescopes, more money means you can buy more telescope!  So there has to be a limit applied somewhere, and for me, I can show you some awesome astronomical  capability with telescopes around the 200 mm aperture range, whilst still fitting into most people’s budget.

I always like to recommend the Orion and Celestron brands the best, but you don’t have to worry about which is the weakest – simple thing is they are all good.  If you want to step up to another level, go for a 200 mm version. Each of the different brands offer the same functionality, the only points of difference are in the quality of the accessories, so you should be aware of what accessories come included in the deal, or whether you can afford to buy the top quality extras on top of the purchase price.  For example, look for a 6 X 30 site finder (or even larger if you afford it), choose Plossl eyepieces wherever possible, and select Pyrex instead of plate glass mirrors.

 Telescope ModelApertureMagnificationTypeWeight 
Orion 8945 SkyQuest
XT8 Reflector Telescope
200 mm29 timesReflector
41 PoundsClick here for
detailed review
of the XT8
Orion 09007
130ST Telescope
130 mm26 timesEquatorial
27 PoundsDetailed review of
Orion 09007
130ST Telescope
Celestron NexStar 130SLT Computerized
130 mm26 timesReflector
30 PoundsClick Here to see
our detailed review
NexStar 130SLT
Celestron NexStar
4 SE Telescope
100 mm53 timesMaksutov-
30 PoundsDetailed review
Celestron NexStar
4 SE Telescope
Celestron NexStar
6 SE Telescope
150 mm53 timesMaksutov-
30 PoundsDetailed review
Celestron NexStar
6 SE Telescope
Orion 10018
SkyQuest XT8i
200 mm65 timesDobsonian
42 PoundsDetailed Review
of the Orion 10018
SkyQuest XT8i
Orion 8946
SkyQuest XT10
250 mm72 timesDobsonian
72 PoundsDetailed Review
Orion 8946
SkyQuest XT10

Okay so let’s look at some of the various offerings for the Best Telescope on the market, in no particular order.

1. Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Reflector Telescope

The Orion SkyQuest XT8 Reflector Telescope offers some of the biggest optics and easy to use features in a simple and neat package that would have to be about the best value for money out there.  Whilst it is one of the most reasonable Dobsonian mounted telescopes on the market, this device is worthy of your attention simply because of the huge aperture and optical magnification, as well as the compact nature of this instrument.  Make no mistake, it is still a large piece of finely manufactured equipment, but the viewing options are simply stunning.
best telescope
Well, the Orion XT8 is not just great value for money, but actually gives anyone from a beginner to a budding enthusiast with the magnification to reach beyond the level of interest from the near sky objects to outer reaches of the universe and beyond.  This telescope features a professional level parabolic mirror housed in a sturdy steel optical tube, and a package designed for optical brightness and clear distinct imagery. This upgraded model of the workhorse Orion XT8 has been designed as the deluxe version of the popular 200 mm telescope and is loaded with top-notch feature enhancements and upgraded accessories to enhance your visual experience.

Don’t forget the additional items that are included in this deal.  You also get a 2 inch dual speed Crayford focusing tool, as well as upgraded accessories including a 28mm DeepView eyepiece, a 10mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece, a Safety Film Solar Filter, the EZ Finder II reflex sight, and collimation cap and more.  Click Here to read our in depth review of the Orion XT8 Reflector Telescope.

Click Here to read more about the Orion XT8 Reflector Telescope at Amazon.



2. Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope

The Orion SpaceProbe 130ST is a real surprise package, with fantastic viewing and clear images. You can expect to easily pick up views of Venus with its crescent disk, Saturn is easily recognizable by its spectacular ring formations, and you will also be able to see Jupiter. Better still if you are careful with your focus you be able to see the moons of Saturn, the moons and cloud patterns of Jupiter, and maybe even the fabled red spot. This telescope really is fantastic value for money with such great optical performance.

best telescopeWhat else can you expect to see with this telescope? This 130 mm aperture reflector telescope gathers a brilliant field of view for bright images of the Moon and the planets but in addition, it will provide you images of deeper sky object such as some of the brighter galaxies, nebulae, and even distant glimpses of star clusters and more. The SpaceProbe 130ST EQ consists of 24 inch long optical tube design which makes it a versatile telescope for the whole family, and children will love the stunning images of the night sky. The sturdy equatorial telescope mount and adjustable tripod features fine manual adjustment for tracking and focusing on celestial objects. The easy to assemble instrument is portable and convenient to use anywhere from you own backyard, to your favourite viewing location. To maximise your viewing pleasure, the Orion SpaceProbe 130ST comes with two Sirius Plossl eyepieces (25mm and 10mm), a very handy 6×30 finder scope, and the manual rack and pinion adjustable tracking unit to keep you in the picture!

Click Here to read our in depth review of the ORION 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope

3. Celestron NexStar 130SLT Computerised Telescope

The Celestron NexStar 130SLT Computerised Telescope is a high precision optical instrument and the automatic sky mapping software makes this a very simple telescope to operate.

The most impressive feature of the Celestron Telescopes is the wonderful SkyAlign technology which gives you the ability to completely automate your astronomical experience. With SkyAlign you won’t need a star chart, compass or even a finder scope to align the telescope. With the power of automation all you need to do is enter the date and time. The computer takes over, and with a very rough aim, you point it at three bright objects, and the telescope is ready. SkyAlign is completely automatic and you can select any target object from the database, and the telescope will do everything for you, from aiming, to tracking and ensuring a sharp focus on the object no matter how fast it tracks across the sky, or how long you want to maintain your attention.

best telescopeWhat else do you get with the Celestron NexStar 130SLT Telescope:

  • 130 mm aperture reflector telescope with Newtonian Optics
  • Focal length = 650 mm
  • 9mm eyepiece
  • Motorized Altazimuth mount
  • Computerized target selection and tracking with massive object database
  • SkyAlign allows you to align on any 3 bright celestial objects

Click here to read more about the Celestron NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope.

4. Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope

The Celestron NexStar 4 SE Reflector telescope delivers great views of the Moon, the planets, and bright deep space objects. This fantastic telescope provides a brilliant construction based on the Cassegrain optical design, which offers you with the magnifying power of a telescope with a 50 inch long focal length, but compressed into a 13 inch optical reflector tube. The Celestron NexStar 4 SE is the most compact and portable telescope in Celestron’s NexStar SE series, yet offers superior optical performance. The wide aperture of 100 mm makes for truly stunning magnification and bright, clear images.

But despite these attractive features, the Celestron NexStar 4 SE offers still more to the budding or experienced astronomer due to the magnificent advantage offered by the computerised alignment and tracking system on which this telescope is based. The patented SkyAlign computer technology is coupled to a motorized alt-azimuth mounting platform, which is fully automated by computer technology and takes all the hard work out of aligning and tracking the telescope.

best telescopeThe Celestron NexStar 4 SE Reflector telescope comes with standard equipment such as a 25mm E-Lux plossl eyepiece with a magnification of 53 times, enough to see the Lunar surface features, the rings of Saturn and the major cloud formations of Jupiter. If you choose, it is easy to add optional eyepieces to zoom in for even better details, but as equipped, this telescope has more than adequate magnification for a 100 mm telescope to get you started.  For further details – click here to read our in depth review.

 Click here to read more about the Celestron NexStar 4 SE Computerized Telescope

5. Celestron NexStar 6 SE Computerised Telescope

The Celestron NexStar 6 SE Reflector telescope is the next beauty in the Celestron range of reflector telescopes. These telescopes look great and and also give you great performance. The NexStar 6 SE is Celestron’s latest Schmidt – Cassegrain telescope design, providing 1.5 metres of focal length in a much shorter optical tube. With an aperture of 150 mm this telescope offers brilliant clear images using superior optical components coated with high transmission coatings. This device is powerful yet portable, coming in at a total compact package of less than 15 kg in telescope

The reason I like to recommend the Celestron NexStar telescopes is that they all come equipped with the fantastic automated SkyAlign technology for simple alignment and tracking functions. This computerised telescope is so simple to use, that you will never again be caught fumbling in the dark, or losing focus on your target. The Celestron NexStar 6 SE is controlled by a easy to use hand remote control panel which means you can operated the telescope with hands off the actual instrument, which eliminates the risk of bumping, wobbling or otherwise disturbing the sensitive instrumentation which can spoil your viewing pleasure.

Click Here to read more about where you can buy the Celestron NexStar 6 SE Reflector telescope.


6. Orion 10018 SkyQuest XT8i IntelliScope Dobsonian Telescope

So now we move up another level to the 200 mm aperture size, and to explore what additional magnification and capability is available when we step up to the next level.

The Orion SkyQuest XT8i Intelliscope Computerized Telescope provides the magnification power of a 203 mm diameter aperture and combines it with the intelligence of computerized tracking technology.  The standard Orion 200 mm reflector optics have been upgraded and combined with the IntelliScope Computerized Object Locator, to make it easier than ever to enjoy the best astronomical delights.  The amateur stargazer can easily pinpoint the location of almost any desired object in the universe, and sit back and let the computer control guide the telescope completely by remote control.  It’s like having your own personal tour guide to the stars, the planets, and deeper sky objects that you previously only dreamed about.

best telescopeThe optical tube houses a 203 mm parabolic reflector mirror and rests upon the sturdy Dobsonian mounting base.  Once again, not only does the telescope make it easy for you to align on the target, the friction control and spring less mounting base provide you with the smoothest tracking motion and always keep the telescope in perfect, steady balance.

The IntelliScope Computerized Object Locator includes more than 14,000 galactic objects and the database is included with the telescope and provided for the user to make it easy to get up and running.  All you need to do is select the target you wish to locate from the database, then simply direct the telescope onto the target, by simply looking at the directions on the remote control.  The automatic drive then controls the telescope motion until the target is centered in the telescope lens.  Now that makes life for astronomers very easy!

Read our in depth review to find out more about the Orion SkyQuest XT8i Intelliscope Reflector telescope.

Wait – there’s one more!

7.  Orion 8946 SkyQuest XT10 Classic Dobsonian Telescopebest telescope

And now we have the Big Dob!

The 254 mm diameter aperture on this big Orion XT10 Telescope will blow you away.  Check our full review of the Orion XT1o Dobsonian Telescope.

With the Orion XT10, you get a lot of telescope for your money, not to mention the incredible power and magnification it offers!  For as little as $630 you can own this telescope and take advantage of the fantastic clarity and intensity, and you will be amazed at how clear the images of celestial objects like planets, galaxies, and nebulae will appear right in front of you!

We recommend you click here to look at the Orion XT10 at the Amazon store.

The Orion XT10 is Simple to Use


What type of Telescope should I buy?

First question:  What type of Telescope should I buy?   Let’s try to make this an objective answer, but as with any subject, and in particular it seems, the nature of telescopes the answer to the basic question of “What telescope should I buy?” is very subjective and there is no simple answer. I will endeavour to start from the perspective of a beginner and take you through a growth process whereby you develop your skills in a logical sequence and don’t break your bank (or your back!) before you develop a deep interest and love for this incredible hobby.

You will find a lot of commentary about the use of binoculars as an alternative to purchasing a telescope, and some of this is well intentioned, but seriously – if you want to become an astronomer, you will need a telescope! Having said that, a decent pair of binoculars can be used to line up your more important equipment, and can certainly form a part of your astronomy tool kit.

Not so long ago choosing a telescope was an easy decision as there wasn’t as much choice as there is now. You could very easily purchase a small refractor telescope with say a 60 mm aperture, and have plenty of fun doing it that way. Maybe you could afford to upgrade to a 150 mm design of a more complex nature. But if you maintained the fervor, you could really aspire to a 200 mm Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope, but this was generally at great expense and only for the deadly serious astronomer.

Luckily for all of us, whether young or old, new to astronomy or reasonably experienced – it is very different in the telescope world these days.

Let’s try to keep this as simple as possible and stick to the facts.


Simple Facts about Telescopes

A good refractor telescope will generally provide you the best in terms of optical superiority.

A good Reflector Telescope will generally cost less to set up than the other types of telescopes.

The Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes generally offer the best of both worlds. Most astronomers will choose a Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope as their primary instrument.

As a rough guide, the Newtonian reflector telescopes used to be the best choice of instrument for the amateur sky watcher. As technology advanced, astronomers were attracted to the lightweight Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope as the various designs provide better and better features. Likewise, better technology revived the design of refractor telescopes, in terms of optical clarity and cost effective production. Nowadays all of the different types of telescopes are available to the amateur astronomer, so embrace the diversity and find the design that suits you best.


Which is the Best Telescope for Beginners?

100mm reflector telescopes are excellent for beginners. For less than $500, you can have a telescope that has a reasonably large aperture size and is relatively portable.

If you decide to go for a refractor telescope, start in the range of an 80mm diameter telescope, but be aware that you should invest in a good stable mount in order to improve the viewing quality.

As a common sense rule, don’t expect to buy a decent telescope for less than $100 or so.  Even telescopes found at the Scientific retail shop may fall under this category, despite the best of intentions to encourage newcomers to astronomy. These telescopes are basically only good for playing with, and are not helpful if you are trying to be serious.

Find a reputable telescope brand with proper optical components, and generally go with scientific telescopes.

For all of the perfectionists out there – don’t worry! If you are struggling to make a decision, rest assured that you can find a high quality instrument these days for a relatively modest cost that will certainly give you a kick start in astronomy, and you can always upgrade in the future.


What telescope should I upgrade to? Taking it to the next level

Many astronomers end up buying and using more than one telescope, so if you have a beginner telescope, don’t assume that you have to do a straight upgrade, whatever you have now does not have to dictate your next purchase. Don’t get too worried if your first choice doesn’t measure up straight away, you just might end up with a bigger telescope that compliments your first purchase.

If you’re interested in developing your skills in astronomy, you might like to investigate acquiring a “spotting scope”.  The purpose of a spotting scope is to plan your viewing schedule on a given evening, and to work out your angles and set up. With a simple and inexpensive spotting scope you can save a lot of heavier manipulation of your primary telescope.

I always recommend that you consider an upgrade to a Newtonian Telescope. They’re the most comfortable to use of the three designs. The eyepiece is nearly always at a convenient height. Refractors are the worst in this regard because the eyepiece is at the bottom of the instrument, and hence trying to look straight up with a refractor telescope means you have to get underneath it to look up, which can be an uncomfortable proposition.

So just to put some context around this discussion, I will try to compare like for like, but this is probably best taken as a tongue in cheek guide. As a general rule, a 200mm Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope is relatively affordable and portable. On the other hand, a 200 mm reflector telescope could be a bit of a handful, especially for a beginner, and you could end up looking at a lot of black sky (this is not fun).   Finally how about upgrading your favorite refractor telescope up to a 200 mm refractor telescope? Don’t take this assumption for granted, because even if you can find one, you’ll probably need to convert part of your house into an observatory! This could be a good or bad thing depending on your circumstances…


Recommendation for Best Telescopebest telescope

If I had to recommend one telescope manufacturer, it would be the Orion Brand of reflector telescopes.  The XT6 / XT8 model telescopes come complete as shown blow, and simply sit on the ground.  There is no need to purchase any additional mount or tripod. These telescopes weigh less than 20 kgs and stand about 4-5 feet high, and therefore should not cause too much trouble in terms of portability. The biggest problem I have found is that if your machine is too large or too heavy, you just won’t use it often enough.

I always recommend the Orion XT8, but I will say that all of the Orion telescopes are good. If you’re feeling ambitious, choose the mighty 200 mm Orion XT8, if you are on a budget, choose the smaller XT6 version.

Click here to look closer at the Orion XT8 Reflector Review


A great all round telescope: Orion’s XT8 Protection Status