Looking at distant things, whether it is the view across a valley or the stars in the night sky, requires having the right equipment. These trappings can range from reasonable prices to astronomical ones. This is good news for stargazers, amateur astronomers, and anyone else who needs a telescope for their various hobbies. When there’s a wide range of telescopes to choose from, there’s almost always something that’s within your requirements and budget.
Since many people have restricted budgets, it is good to know that there’s a variety of low-cost telescopes available for long-distance viewing purposes. Here, these are arranged in terms of cost, from highest to lowest, but the most expensive one in this list is still under $200.
In addition to looking at the cheapest models available, we’re also considering the telescopes by brand. There are certain brands for such equipment that are known for their reasonable prices. They may not be among the market leaders in the industry, but they do a decent enough job to gain a respectable following.
While professionals might have to look towards the most expensive and high-end brands to fulfil their requirements, the reviews and feedback on the relatively cheaper brands are quite heartening. With this information, we may pick and choose the best possible telescope according to our pocket as well as our unique needs.
The Cheaper Brands
The brand that has the largest quantity of inexpensive telescopes, for now, is Celestron. This company has made great strides in allowing the average person to see heavenly bodies from the backyard or roof. Several other companies also have telescopes available that are less likely to break the bank, but Celestron is one name that is instantly recognizable for producing the best telescopes on the market.
Another well-known telescope brand is Orion. It might be a bit more expensive than the other low0budget models, but you can still easily get one for less than $200. OneSky, TwinStar, and Barska are other names that you might want to look out for.
One very fortunate aspect here is that most of the low-cost telescope models you get from these brands come with their own kit. This means that a tripod and carrying case are included, as well as all the accessories we need to get started right away. We might have to compromise on quality somewhere, but that’s understandable.
We’ll now take a look at some of the most likely options when you’re shopping for telescopes on a budget. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
Astronomers Without Borders offers the OneSky Reflector Telescope, which is distributed through Celestron as a fundraiser item. Celestron does not offer this telescope separately from AWB. This excellent starter telescope is portable and includes a base, two eyepieces, a helical focuser, and a red dot finder.
Levenhuk’s Strike 90 PLUS is a refractor telescope that comes with extra accessories including a tripod, two eyepieces plus a zoom eyepiece, a 3x Barlow lens, a book, posters, and a chart, as well as software and a case for easy transport.
Celestron’s 22103 ExploraScope 114AZ is a reflector telescope, good for both daytime and nighttime viewing. Built to be stable, this telescope includes 2 eyepieces and a 3x Barlow lens. This unit is intended for beginners, and also has an available downloadable app to assist in locating celestial objects.
The Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ uses a German Equatorial mount and a Newtonian reflector. It also includes two eyepieces, an aluminum tripod, and 3x Barlow lens, as well as a slow-motion control knob for more ease in following the path of the objects in the sky.
Celestron’s 21079 Cometron 114AZ has a parabolic mirror design to allow for a sharp image and the elimination of spherical aberrations. Because the unit has a large aperture, a wider field of view is available, making it perfect for viewing comets, as well as stars and other celestial bodies. The steel tripod provides stability while perusing the detail of distant objects such as the Orion Nebula or the moons of Jupiter.
Orion’s 10012 SkyScanner 100mm is a tabletop reflector telescope that is ideal for entry-level astronomers. It has no plastic lenses and allows for detailed clarity of the moon and planets even when there are city lights in the vicinity of the telescope’s location. In darker conditions, the distance of view is increased, and deep-sky objects can be perceived. It includes two eyepieces, an aiming device, and software.
Celestron’s 21061 AstroMaster 70AZ refractor telescope is quick and easy to set up without needing tools. Its manual alt-azimuth mount and pan handle allow for smooth movement, which increases the ease of finding the desired celestial objects. Two eyepieces, a finderscope, and free astronomy software are also included.
The TwinStar’s AstroMark 80mm portable refractor telescope comes in silver or blue and includes a finding scope, mini tripod, carry bag, and two eyepieces. This one is great for backyard astronomers.
Celestron’s Tel, National Park Foundation FirstScope is smaller than some starter telescopes, which results in this Newtonian tabletop telescope being ideal for camping trips or other travel. The night sky is easy to view with this handy device on its tabletop mount.
The Orion 10034 GoScope II 70mm refractor telescope sits on an aluminum tripod and comes in a backpack specially designed to be sturdy to hold and protect the telescope and all accessories, which include a finder scope, two eyepieces, and MoonMap 260. Both night sky and daytime scenery and landscape can be viewed in detail through this telescope.
There’s also a tripod included in the package, which is compact enough to be carried in the backpack as well. Overall, this is a great kit that you can take along while camping, on a road trip, or for a hike towards a good viewing spot.
While the majority of reviews for this telescope are very positive, there have been some complaints that we should consider. The focus and setup might be a bit challenging for some, while others report that the tripod is a bit wobbly.
The Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope, as its name implies, is geared for traveling. It comes with a custom backpack for easy transport, which holds the telescope and all its accessories. Setup is quick and easy, requiring no tools. Along with an adjustable tripod, its accessories include two eyepieces, finderscope, and pan handle alt-azimuth control.
You won’t be disappointed with the quality here either, as there are fully coated glass optics, powerful eyepieces, and excellent manufacturing throughout. The user will be able to center things quite quickly, making for clear and precise viewing. While there might be some better models, you probably won’t get the same quality and performance for this price range. Kids and teenagers or novice beginners will certainly appreciate such an investment.
The one possible downside is that some reviews have complained about the telescope being a bit unstable. It might be a good idea not to extend it out fully.
BARSKA’s Starwatcher 400x70mm is an entry-level telescope with coated glass optics, resulting in brighter images. The adjustable tripod fits with the telescope and accessories in the soft carrying case. Interchangeable eyepieces and 3x Barlow lens increase its versatility.
The three lenses here are interchangeable, so you don’t have to worry about getting spares for a long time. There’s also a limited lifetime warranty included with this purchase, as well as an adjustable tripod and a soft carrying case. These included accessories make this telescope quite a worthy purchase, especially if you’re considering it as a gift.
On the downside, some have said that the tripod provided is not tall enough for most viewing purposes. If this telescope is not meant for a child, you may have to get another tripod or a viewing stand for a decent experience.
The Celestron PowerSeeker 50AZ includes two eyepieces, 3x Barlow lens, and astronomy software with this beginner level telescope that makes it easy for new astronomers to view stars and planets in the night sky. Image brightness and clarity are enhanced through coatings on the glass optical components.
Another positive factor for beginners here is that the setup is quick, easy, and requires no additional tools. There are also slow motion controls for a smooth tracking experience, while the astronomy software gives you access to a huge and comprehensive database.
However, we should be aware that this telescope is mostly meant for entry level use. You might want to upgrade pretty quickly, but it’s a great tool for deciding whether you want to continue with a certain hobby or not.
The Meade Instruments Infinity 50mm AZ includes three magnification eyepieces and a 2x Barlow lens, an optical viewfinder, and astronomical software. The alt-azimuth mount simplifies the process of finding your target in the night sky or landscape. Not only is it reasonably priced, but this telescope also has very positive reviews. It’s one of the cheapest telescopes on this list, though there are few complaints about its performance.
The eyepieces here have different levels of magnification, which you may adjust according to your needs. The instructional DVD will help most beginners get started on their hobbies. According to reviews, you can clearly see both celestial objects very clearly as well as objects on land. You’ll have to be careful about the prism reflector though, as it can be easily smashed during assembly if we rush it.
iOptron’s 6004 iExplore 50AZ is a beginner astronomer’s telescope which includes two eyepieces, a finderscope, and an aluminum tripod. The images of the moon, planets, stars, birds, or wildlife are clear and sharp, making this a great starter telescope for anyone new to astronomy.
The lens of this telescope is diagonal, with a 600mm focal tube that ensured maximum magnification. There’s also a user manual included, which can guide you through the assembly and correct setup if you’re new to this.
Many users have bought this particular model for a young child. Nevertheless, one should be aware that this telescope requires some care while putting together, though the process is quite easy. There might be one or two negative reviews, but the majority of users seem to be well pleased with what they’re getting for the low price.
Regardless of budget, experience, or location, we may rest assured that there’s the perfect low-cost telescope out there for you. The models above can assist in viewing the sky, landscapes, or wildlife. Some of the options are even under $50, so you might consider getting them as a special gift for a kid or teenager who’s interested in such hobbies.
In addition to the budget, one should also look out for certain other considerations when buying a telescope. Before you place your money on any option, you should consult a telescope buying guide. This will give you all the factors for deciding whether to buy a certain model or not. At the very least, ensure that you read some detailed reviews for the shortlisted models you’ve selected.