Do you ever look up at the night sky and think how these stunning stars look up close? The sky above you provides a beautiful sight of our galaxy, but the naked eye can only catch a glimpse of its magnificence. Nevertheless, there is a way – actually two – to observe this magnificence with your bare eyes: either you Uber a rocket to the Moon or buy a telescope.
The first option is clearly not feasible for beginners, so let’s discuss the second one. There are various telescopes available in the market that enable you to get a detailed image of what our galaxy offers. But here’s the thing: telescopes aren’t something you can buy after saving your pocket money for three weeks. The good news is that several renowned manufacturers have produced beginner models at inexpensive costs. These models are great news for novice astronomy enthusiasts and are listed for as less as $300.
Now, finding the best telescope for beginners can be difficult and time-consuming for someone who randomly starts scanning the web. But not on our watch! To help you retain your valuable time and money, we have listed the 5 best telescopes for beginners under $300 in this article. So, tag along to get your hands on the ultimate list of best telescopes for beginners.
5 Best Telescopes for Beginners Under $300
We searched tools manufactured by various companies during our search for the best beginner telescopes. Listed below are the ones that we found in terms of quality and price:
Gysker AZ90600 Refractor Telescope
The Gysker AZ90600 Refractor Telescope is the first contender on our list of best telescopes under $300. It is a great tool for people searching for a top-quality, beginner-level telescope at an affordable price.
The assortment of entry-level attachments and ease of use are hands down the product’s best features. The Gysker AZ90600 features a wide field of view and a low focus distance of 400mm, making it excellent for exploring and navigating the sky.
Moreover, it has superb image quality overall. The 24x, 60x, and 120x eyepieces provide a wide range of viewing options, making this telescope ideal for seeing faraway planets. The package also includes a stainless steel tripod, which is highly sturdy and folds down so you can transport this telescope effortlessly. You also get a smartphone mount and remote control for taking pictures from your phone with the Gysker AZ90600.
The only thing we didn’t like about the Gysker AZ90600 was its unclear instructions. Referring to the vague instructions took us a long time to assemble the telescope.
- Large lens
- Includes three eyepieces
- Great image quality
- Great image quality
- Difficult to assemble
Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ Refractor Telescope
Celestron has been one of the most reputable names in the telescope industry. The AstroMaster 70AZ is one of their most economical scopes, and it’s a favorite choice among newcomers. It is an exceptionally affordable telescope, is easy to use, and offers a high value for a low price.
The AstroMaster 70AZ has a clutched Alt-Az control that enables smooth and effortless aiming, allowing you to focus on the star or planet you want to see. It’s 70 mm aperture lets lots of light in, and the two eyepieces enable you to choose between different magnifications.
Moreover, its 900 mm focal length and f/13 focal ratio makes it suitable for daylight bird watching or studying far away objects such as stars and planets. This telescope includes an alt-azimuth mount and a full-height tripod that you can adjust to suit your height. Setting up the Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ is an effortless task – it relies on simple connections and doesn’t require any tool.
The only flaw with the product is that its tripod is unsteady and occasionally slides when in use.
- Effortless assembly
- Two eyepieces
- A sturdy and lightweight frame
- Budget-friendly telescope
- Shaky tripod
Orion StarBlast II 4.5 Equatorial Reflector Telescope
The Orion StarBlast II short-focal-length reflector is a terrific option for people searching for a beginner telescope that’s not only simple to use but also produces bright, crisp images.
Orion’s decision to stick to the Newtonian design while making the telescope compact is admirable. The telescope has a 114 mm (4.5 inches) aperture and a 450 mm focal length, as well as a real parabolic mirror (unlike the Bird-Jones) and two premium Sirius Plossl eyepieces (25mm and 10mm).
The StarBlast II’s magnification ranges from 18x to 45x by default, a good starting point for beginners. Nevertheless, you can always add fewer than 10mm eyepieces if you need more magnification. The product comes with a height-adjustable metal tripod to comfortably observe faraway objects. Another amazing component of the StarBlast II is the accessory tray held between the three legs that provide convenient access.
The manufacturers have integrated slow-motion settings into the equatorial, or EQ, mount. This feature makes it simple to keep any moving object in the eyepiece’s focus. You can also add an electric-powered motor drive to center those objects automatically; you will have to purchase this component separately.
- Includes a variety of accessories
- Ideal for novice astronomers
- Comes with a dust cover
- Easy to assemble
- Comes with a tray to organize attachments
- Heavy to lift
- Does not include a carrying case
Orion 8944 SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope
The SkyQuest XT6 is a premium Orion telescope with some extras removed so that you can purchase it at a beginner’s price. Featuring a Newtonian design, the SkyQuest XT6 is well-made with a great fit and finish and can last a lifetime.
It features a six-inch lens. With a diameter of more than 150 millimeters, it is by far the largest lens on our list. SkyQuest XT6’s optical performance is exceptional, especially for deep-sky objects. As a result, it’s a fantastic model for looking at other planets and stars.
This model also comes with a fantastic foundation that allows for easy repositioning and almost eliminates shaking for a stable image. When it comes to image quality, this is without a doubt the best model we tested. The telescope comes with a functional battery-powered EZ red dot finder. The SkyQuest XT6 also includes a 1.25″ Sirius Plossl eyepiece with a 48x magnification.
The only thing we didn’t like about the Orion SkyQuest XT6 is that it only comes with one lens. So, you may need to purchase a good-quality lens to utilize this telescope fully.
- Large aperture
- Sturdy base
- Includes a collimation cap
- The package includes only one eyepiece
Meade Instruments Infinity 102mm AZ Refractor
The 102mm Infinity scope has the biggest aperture of all Meade’s Infinity scopes, providing clear and detailed images of the night sky at a price that any beginner will appreciate. The Meade Infinity 102mm AZ provides everything you need to enjoy astronomy, including an assortment of eyepieces and all the attachments you’ll need to get started.
This scope has a 4″ (102mm) aperture, which allows for a good amount of light to be captured and used to illuminate various celestial objects. The focal ratio of this scope is f/5.9 due to its short focal length, which provides a stunningly broad field of view for photographing large objects.
Moreover, the Meade Instruments Infinity 102mm telescope comes with a generous set of three eyepieces; you’ll get 26mm, 9mm, and 6.3mm lenses with magnifications of 23x, 67x, and 95x, respectively. The package also includes a 2x Barlow lens, which is twice the magnification of each eyepiece.
It couldn’t be any easier to get this telescope set up and ready to see the sky. Assembling the scope is as easy as screwing the OTA to the mount, choosing an eyepiece, and looking for something interesting in the sky.
- Great for beginners
- Easy to use
- Sturdy tripod
- Grab-and-go design
- Includes a functional red dot finder
- Some customers complained that the eyepieces don’t fit the telescope
What Should You Look for In the Best Beginner Telescope under $300?
Before heading out to the market for a new beginner telescope, you must keep several factors in mind to make your purchase a valuable one. Here are some of the features that you should consider when buying a telescope:
When buying a telescope, the first thing you should decide on is the type. Telescopes come in two common types: reflectors and refractors.
- Reflector Telescopes
A clear sheet of glass or plastic covers the front of the tube in reflector telescopes. These aren’t lenses because they don’t distort the light; instead, they’re a protective shell that keeps dust out.
These are the most affordable, and you can get greater apertures for less money than with other types. Reflector telescopes have one disadvantage: they must be aligned regularly, a process known as “collimation.”
- Refractor Telescopes
The refractor type is what most people envision when they think of a telescope. This type of telescope employs a lens to focus light on one mirror, which is tilted to direct light into your eye via an eyepiece.
Because they aren’t complex, they don’t require much upkeep. While many beginner telescopes use this design, it becomes considerably more expensive as the aperture grows.
The diameter of the lens that accumulates the light rays is referred to as the aperture or objective. It is normally expressed in millimeters, but it can also be expressed in inches. Telescopes should have at least a 70mm aperture. In general, the greater the telescope’s aperture, the easier it is to observe tinier objects in the sky.
3. Focal Length
The focal length is the area between the mirror or lens and the focus point, where light rays intersect. Focal length is a key determinant of the eyepiece’s magnification level. You can easily calculate the magnification level by dividing the focal length of your eyepiece by the focal distance of your telescope. A 1000mm telescope with a 10mm eyepiece, for example, will produce a magnification of 100x.
4. Focal Ratio
The focal ratio represents the optics’ speed. If you want to see the deep sky, fast focal ratios (f/3 to f/5) are ideal for you because they produce a brighter image with a broader field of view. Slower focal ratios (f/6 and above), on the other hand, are better for studying our solar system (the Moon and the planets that orbit the Earth), as well as planets in general and binary stars.
Because the mirrors must be positioned for effective performance, reflectors require a procedure known as “collimation.” A reflector that has been improperly collimated would appear fuzzy and difficult to focus. Because refractors have fixed lenses, they rarely need to be adjusted and require less maintenance.
6. Mounting Type
Another important consideration for purchasing a telescope is the mounting type. There are two common mounting systems for telescopes:
- Alt-Azimuth Mount
The Alt-Az or Alt-Azimuth mount moves vertically and horizontally along two axes. This is the most straightforward attachment for novices, as it functions similarly to a camera tripod. Simply aim it where you want to look and tighten it down to operate it. Slow-motion knobs are available on some models, allowing you to make precise changes.
- Equatorial Mount
The “equatorial” mount, a unique sort of mount constructed specifically for monitoring astronomical objects as the Earth spins, is the second primary type of telescope mount. An equatorial mount is more difficult for beginners to use since it takes time to position it properly, and it is less intuitive to find objects with it at first.
Needless to say, you would have to look at the price tag before buying. A good-quality refractor will often cost more than a reflector (for the same aperture size). Mirrors are less expensive to make. Moreover, (And the price of higher-quality refracting lenses can skyrocket – a doublet or triplet “apochromatic” lens, for example, is far more expensive than a standard “achromatic” lens. So, if you want to get the most bang for your buck, a reflecting telescope might be the way to go.
Having the greatest telescope under $300 can allow you to explore the universe without breaking the bank. All the models listed above are head and shoulders above the competition because of their amazing price bracket. Not only can you purchase an incredible piece of equipment for studying the night sky, but it will be considerably more powerful than anything the ancestors of astronomy possessed!
So, which of these 5 best telescopes for beginners under $300 are you investing in?