There are loads of good funds telescopes under $500, which is able to permit you to get into stargazing with out emptying your checking account — with out skimping on high-quality optics and construct. You don’t should restrict your self to a selected sort of telescope, both, as you may simply get reflector, refractor or catadioptric telescopes at this value level.
Most of the telescopes we’ve included beneath are greatest suited to inexperienced persons and youngsters, as they’re simple to arrange, fairly moveable, and undemanding on the subject of upkeep. For seasoned stargazers in search of fashions with greater specs, we suggest having a look by way of our round-up of the very best telescopes out there in 2021. But for those who’re merely in search of the very best newbie telescopes or the very best telescopes for youths, you’ll discover loads of choices beneath.
Be warned, although, that there aren’t fairly as many Black Friday telescope offers round this 12 months, so don’t count on to see $700 fashions which were slashed to $450. Industry-wide shortages are affecting telescope manufacturing, so producers don’t have as many spare fashions to promote. In truth, you’ll battle to search out sure standard fashions such because the Celestron NexStar 6SE even in inventory in most locations, because it’s backordered all over the place.
However, as most of our chosen fashions are lower than $500 anyway, they shouldn’t upset your financial institution stability an excessive amount of. Here are our favorites which can be at present in inventory.
Today’s greatest offers on funds telescopes under $500
Budget telescopes under $500
StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ offers
The vast 130mm aperture on this Newtonian reflector unit makes it an amazing possibility for viewing a number of totally different evening sky targets, together with galaxies, nebulae, planets and star clusters. It’s certainly one of our favourite telescopes for inexperienced persons, as it really works at the side of the StarSense app in your cell phone. Simply obtain the app and mount your telephone onto the scope, and you’ll be capable to shortly determine evening sky targets and navigate the celebs.
It’s on a easy alt-azimuth mount, which is comparatively simple to function and transfer round, and we additionally discovered it fast to assemble. At 18lbs it’s pretty light-weight too, so you may pack it up and transport it simply. With a strong construct and good high quality optics, you’d be laborious pushed to discover a higher possibility at this value level.
StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ
With a barely smaller aperture than the 130AZ, this telescope received’t provide pictures which can be fairly as vibrant and sharp – and you would possibly discover it tougher to get spectacular pictures of faint deep sky objects. However, as this telescope is an achromatic reflector – slightly than a Newtonian reflector – you received’t have to fret about collimating the mirrors. This could be a fiddly course of and damage your night’s viewing for those who get it incorrect, which is why the 102AZ is likely to be preferable for absolute inexperienced persons.
Again, this mannequin works with the sensible StarSense app, making it simple to navigate the skies whenever you’re stargazing. When energetic, the app can mechanically generate the names of at present seen objects, so you realize what you’re taking a look at. It’s lighter than the 130AZ too, at simply 14.2lbs, so it is even simpler to maneuver round in your yard.
Telescopes under $300
Orion StarMax 90 Tabletop
This is actually a tabletop telescope, which suggests you don’t have to fret about organising a difficult tripod at midnight to begin stargazing. Instead, this compact unit can sit in your desk and you should utilize it as and whenever you please.
The telescope comes prepared to make use of out of the field – so no meeting – and it gives a good sized aperture and good high quality optics for the worth. There’s no color-fringing current, due to the Maksutov-Cassegrain design, and we have been very impressed with the views that we achieved of objects just like the lunar floor and Saturn’s rings. An important possibility for inexperienced persons or for older children who’re all for astronomy..
Celestron AstroGrasp 102AZ
This no-frills refractor telescope has a decent-sized aperture and a light-weight, moveable design. We did discover when testing it that it suffers from color-fringing round vibrant targets like Jupiter and Saturn, however that is maybe to be anticipated whenever you’re utilizing a refractor, particularly at this value level. It additionally provided gorgeous views of the atmospheric bands and the Cassini Division in Saturn’s rings, so we shortly forgave the telescope’s viewing faults.
It’s simple to function, with a panining deal with that permits you to sweep the evening sky and slow-motion controls for nice actions. At 14.1lbs, it’s simple to maneuver round a yard or darkish tenting spots. There’s no know-how help right here, although, so that you’ll have to search out your individual method across the evening sky.
Orion StarBlast II 4.5 EQ
This telescope has an impressively strong construct. It comes with an equatorial mount, which will be tough to grasp at first – we suggest enjoying round within the daytime earlier than you check out evening time viewing. Apart from this, although, it’s fast and simple to set-up. It additionally comes with an impressively lengthy checklist of equipment: two eyepieces — a ten mm and 25 mm, which provide magnifications of 18x and 45x — a 2x Barlow lens, Orion’s Star Target Planisphere and Telescope Observer’s Guide for planning your observations, a moon map, a purple LED mild to protect your evening imaginative and prescient and a red-dot finder.
This reflector scope has a quick focal ratio of f/4, which suggests it gives a big area of view slightly than a protracted focal size. When we examined the mannequin, we turned the tube to the Pleiades star cluster (Messier 45) and achieved some dazzling views, with pin-sharp stars and solely the faintest quantity of coma.
Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector
This Dobsonian telescope gives an amazing aperture of 114mm for its comparatively low value. It’s a ready-to-use mannequin, so excellent for younger stargazers of those that don’t wish to fiddle round with any type of set-up. In addition to the primary unit, whenever you buy this telescope you’ll get Explorer II 6 mm and 17 mm eyepieces, EZ Finder II reflex sight finderscope, a collimation cap, an eyepiece rack and Starry Night Special Edition software program.
It’s most likely a bit heavy for actually younger children to lug round, at 13lbs, nevertheless it does get pleasure from being extremely intuitive to make use of. When we examined it out with the eyepieces, we achieved glorious views of the moon – however the scope actually shone once we turned it on wider starfields, which have been displayed in wealthy, contrasting views.
Celestron Inspire 100AZ
This refractor telescope comes with loads of equipment, together with a smartphone adapter which is able to permit you to take pictures of the evening sky. However, provided that the refractor boasts a focal ratio of f6.5, you’re restricted to short-exposure images right here. But it’s a good introduction into astrophotography, all the identical.
We did expertise some false coloration whereas testing out this telescope, however that may be resolved with some rigorously chosen eyepieces. Overall, that is undoubtedly one we’d recommend is for grownup inexperienced persons, as monitoring targets could be a little tough with none type of computerized help.
Meade Instruments StarPro 102
A traditional telescope that’s simple to assemble and boasts a strong construct, it is a good possibility for older children who wish to do some stargazing. Again, there’s little or no computerized help right here, so that you’ll have to have some data of the evening sky to search out your required targets. But the slow-motion cables for nice actions make it simple to precisely lock onto an object.
When we examined it out with one of many included eyepieces, we have been very impressed with the crisp views of stars and planets. Jupiter was significantly dazzling, however we additionally managed to get a faint view of Uranus. The newest iteration of this mannequin comes with a smartphone adapter, for taking footage by way of the eyepiece. It additionally comes with AutoStar Suite® Astronomer Edition Software – sadly, this comes on a DVD, slightly than as a smartphone app, so it won’t be that helpful to all shoppers.
Telescopes under $200
Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 114AZ
This reflector telescope boasts a fair-sized aperture and good high quality optics, which is why we rank it as probably the greatest funds telescopes under $200. It works with the StarSense app, which you’ll obtain onto your telephone to make navigating the evening sky even simpler. We additionally discovered that it took lower than 20 minutes to arrange, which is comparatively fast for a telescope.
When we made use of the 10mm eyepiece, which comes with the telescope, we achieved pleasingly clear views of the moon, Venus and the Beehive Cluster (Messier 44). Moving between targets is simple – however you’ll have to do that manually, as no type of computerized mount is offered. An glorious possibility for each inexperienced persons and intermediate stargazers who need a fuss-free little bit of package.
Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ
An glorious entry-level telescope, this reflector mannequin boasts a strong 127mm aperture and comes with an equatorial mount. As talked about above, these mounts take a little bit of getting used to, so we’d advise testing it out within the daytime earlier than utilizing it at midnight. That aperture ought to make it simpler to identify deep sky targets.
It’s designed to be pretty moveable, however at 22lbs you’re unlikely to wish to put this in a backpack and carry it round. Instead, it’s a very good telescope for maintaining behind a automobile, do you have to wish to arrange in distant darkish sky places.
Orion Observer 80ST
We have been impressed with the views we might obtain with the refractor telescope. We have been in a position to view Jupiter with its belts and moons, Saturn with its rings and, with the best eyepieces, even the tiny blue-turquoise disks of faraway Uranus and Neptune. At this value level, we have been unsurprised to find a level of false coloration, however this didn’t damage the viewing expertise. We might even spot craters on the moon’s floor resembling Copernicus and Tycho.
The most important disadvantage with this telescope is that the equipment are of a low high quality. If you wish to enhance the false coloration points, you’ll want to purchase separate eyepieces. And we’d additionally suggest a stronger tripod, because the one provided isn’t significantly sturdy.
Celestron AstroGrasp 70AZ
Another prime decide for younger observers, this refractor telescope has an easy-to-use alt-azimuth mount, which we discovered provided a easy and nice viewing expertise. There are fairly a couple of plastic components on this mannequin, although, making it really feel slightly fragile; we’d suggest supervising youthful children round this barely delicate telescope.
Observers can be handled to clear views of the moon, Venus and Jupiter by way of this telescope. With a little bit of tweaking, we really even managed to deliver a touch of Jupiter’s cloud bands into clear view. The mannequin comes with 10 mm and 20 mm eyepieces, an erect star diagonal in addition to a battery-operated purple dot finderscope.
Telescopes under $100
Celestron FirstScope 76
This scope is normally priced at simply under $60 – it’s an ideal present for actually younger ones, because it’s strong and comes ready-to-use out of the field. At most, this mannequin will provide views of the lunar floor and barely deeper views of the broad evening sky. It’s tough to collimate as nicely, as the first mirror isn’t adjustable, and it’s troublesome to attain pin-sharp sights by way of the sphere of view because the focuser tube is kind of free.
All that apart, that is one thing that may fortunately sit on a desktop or desk and deliver younger viewers pleasure, as they obtain deeper views of the overall evening sky. If you’re after slightly bit extra bang in your buck, although, you would possibly wish to go for a pair of the very best binoculars for youths.
Orion AreaProbe II 76
A reflector telescope that gives wide-field views however performs nicely with lunar and planetary observations, it is a good possibility for younger stargazers too. It comes with every part a budding astronomer would want, together with 10 mm and 25 mm Kellner eyepieces, a purple dot finder and a moon map. That purple dot finder is additional useful, particularly when star hopping under skies with a contact of sunshine air pollution.
At this value level, you may’t actually count on views to be pin sharp, and we discovered attaching the tripod to the mount a bit fiddly. But at simply over 7lb, it is a actually light-weight little bit of package that may brighten up any tenting journey with its honest views of planets and lunar craters.
Deals you missed
Sadly, offers do not stick round perpetually – particularly this near Black Friday. When a deal has expired, we’ll present it beneath. This will be useful when evaluating present costs with previous reductions.