The 9 Best Telescopes of 2020

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The Rundown

Best Overall: Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ at Amazon

"This telescope offers a nice balance between performance, affordability, and user-friendliness."

Best Budget: Mesixi Astronomical Telescope at Amazon

"It's an excellent pick for budget shoppers since you get two telescopes for the price of one."

Best for Beginners: Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ at Amazon

"Includes features that are perfect for beginners such as two slow-motion control knobs and two eyepieces."

Best for Kids: OYS Telescope for Kids at Amazon

"Equipped with kid-friendly features, such as carrying bag, to make viewing the sky as easy as possible."

Best for Bird Watching: Celestron Regal M2 80ED at Amazon

"Features specialized dispersion properties to render crystal-clear images of your favorite avian species."

Best for Astrophotography: Sky-Watcher EvoStar 120 APO at Amazon

"This telescope is perfect for astrophotographers because it provides fantastic color correction."

Most Portable: Orion StarBlast 4.5 Reflector Telescope at Amazon

"Weighing just 13 pounds, it’s the perfect grab-and-go telescope to take with you on the road."

Best for Smartphones: Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ at Adorama

"Utilizes unique technology to help your phone clearly identify celestial objects and star patterns."

Best Splurge: Celestron NexStar 127SLT at Amazon

"Operates on a computerized system which means that you can align it by simply clicking a button."

There are few things as thrilling as being able to get an up-close-and-personal look at the night sky, wilderness, or roaming landscapes—and the only way to do so is with a telescope. Once you’ve seen the moon, birds, and mountains through the lens of a telescope, there’s simply no going back to looking with the naked eye. Of course, not all telescopes are created equal, and you’ll want to select the one that best suits your specific needs and budget. Whether you want to dabble in astrophotography, take your telescope with you when camping, or be able to stargaze with your kiddos, the amazing devices on this list are worth every penny.

Read on for our picks of the best telescopes available online.

Our Top Picks

01 of 09

Best Overall: Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ

Packed to the gills with beginner-friendly yet high-quality features, the AstroMaster 70AZ Telescope from Celestron offers a nice balance between performance, affordability, and user-friendliness, which is why we’ve selected it as our best overall pick. First, this telescope boasts great optics, with a 70-millimeter aperture and fully-coated optics glass lens, resulting in razor-sharp images of all the best objects in the night sky, from the craters and mountains on the moon to Saturn’s glowing rings. It also comes equipped with two replaceable eyepieces (one is 10 millimeters and the other is 20 millimeters) to help enhance the magnifying power of each eyepiece. The body, accessories, and included tripod are all relatively lightweight and compact, as well, so you can easily take this telescope along with you on your nighttime adventures. It even comes with a smartphone app, so you can read information about what you're seeing on your phone. 

02 of 09

Best Budget: Mesixi Astronomical Telescope

Considering that you get two telescopes for the price of one, the Astronomical Telescope from Mesixi is an excellent pick for budget shoppers. If you buy the astronomical telescope, you also get the monocular telescope, free of charge. You’ll be able to view everything that the night sky has to offer, considering that this telescope has a 70-millimeter aperture (and 400-millimeter focal length), with two 1.25-inch eyepieces that increase magnification from 51x to 128x. It also features a 5 x 24 finder scope, fully adjustable tripod, a clip for your phone, and even a Bluetooth self-timer. Basically, you get an entire beginner’s astronomy kit, at a very budget-friendly price.

03 of 09

Best for Beginners: Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ

What sets the Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ apart from other telescopes for beginners is its sheer power, coupled with easy-to-use features and a quick, effortless set-up. You’ll enjoy a stellar viewing experience—this telescope has a 130 millimeter glass optic objective lens, plus two slow-motion control knobs, so you can smoothly make micro adjustments and track objects. It’s also very intuitive, which is a must-have feature for beginners. The frame is sturdy and lightweight, with a total weight of 17 pounds, allowing for easy portability. And, included with the telescope are two eyepieces (a 10 and 20 millimeter), a travel tripod, and a StarPointer red dot finderscope. 

04 of 09

Best for Kids: OYS Telescope for Kids

Tiny stargazers will adore the OYS Telescope for Beginners, which is equipped with plenty of kid-friendly features, to make viewing the sky as easy and streamlined as possible. For one thing, it’s extremely lightweight and portable at just 2.2 pounds; along with the adjustable tripod, this telescope can be packed up into the custom backpack that comes with it, so you can take it anywhere. It has high-quality, multi-coated glass optics that give you enough power to be able to see the moon and planets in vivid detail. And, with the two 1.25-inch eyepieces (offering varying magnification, from 20x to 44.5x), you can increase the range of viewable objects as much as you like. 

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05 of 09

Best for Bird Watching: Celestron Regal M2 80ED

Spot all kinds of avian species with the Celestron Regal M2 80ED Spotting Scope, whose specialized dispersion properties render crystal-clear images and true-to-life color. You can opt to use this scope with either the included 20x to 60x zoom eyepiece or a 1.25-inch astronomical eyepiece. It’s easy to find your ideal viewing angle, with the rotating tripod mount that allows you to position the eyepiece perfectly. Although this telescope is undeniably pricey, you get a lot of bang for your buck—the brand’s proprietary XLT optical coatings help to maximize light transmission, allowing for brighter, clearer images. And, the Regal M2 comes with a padded view-through case, storage covers for the eyepieces, a T-mount adapter so you can attach your DSLR camera, and cleaning cloths. It also includes a limited lifetime warranty.

06 of 09

Best for Astrophotography: Sky-Watcher EvoStar 120 APO

For the budding (or skilled) astrophotographer, there’s no better telescope than the Sky-Watcher EvoStar 120 APO Doublet Refractor, simply because it yields such crisp, quality images. This is because the EvoStar has a matched doublet objective that provides fantastic color correction, along with Metallic High-Transmission Coatings that help to produce perfectly accurate images, with little to no aberrations. Finding focus is a cinch, too, no matter the eyepiece or camera, thanks to the 10:1 dual-speed Crayford-style focuser. You’ll have everything you need to capture gorgeous pictures of all the objects you want to see: a foam-lined aluminum hard case, an 8 x 50 Right Angle Correct Image Finderscope, 5 millimeter and 10-millimeter eyepieces, a 1.25-inch adapter, and more.

07 of 09

Most Portable: Orion StarBlast 4.5 Reflector Telescope

Relative to most other options out there, the Orion StarBlast Reflector Telescope is highly portable, weighing just 13 pounds and measuring in at 23.5 x 18.5 x 25 inches. It’s the perfect grab-and-go telescope, if you’d prefer something light and compact enough to take with you on the road. Despite its sleek size, this telescope still has an array of heavy-duty features: namely, a precisely crafted 4.5-inch aperture and a fast f/4 focal ratio that provides detailed views. It also ships pre-assembled, so it’s ready to use in minutes, as opposed to bulkier, heavier models.

08 of 09

Best for Smartphones: Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ

Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ

 Courtesy of Adorama

The Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ does something that many other telescopes don’t—it allows you to use your smartphone to analyze what you’re seeing in the sky. This telescope utilizes unique StarSense Sky Recognition Technology, and this, along with your phone, helps you to clearly identify celestial objects and star patterns. Even cooler, you’ll get an automatically-generated list of all the stars, galaxies, planets, and nebulae that are most visible from your location, so all you have to do is select one of the objects and follow the on-screen arrows that appear. The 102-millimeter refractor is coated with high-transmission XLT optical coatings, and compatible with a variety of iPhones and Androids.

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09 of 09

Best Splurge: Celestron NexStar 127SLT

The Celestron NexStar 127SLT comes with a rather luxurious price tag, but if you’re looking to splurge on your astronomy hobby, it’s tough to beat this telescope. It operates on a computerized system, which means that instead of having to manually align the telescope, you can align it by simply clicking a button—and then instantly have access to a database of over 40,000 stars, nebulae, planets, and more.

Assembly is quick and easy; you’ll be on your way to gazing at galaxies in no time. The NexStar comes with a pre-assembled (and adjustable) steel tripod, plus a StarPointer Finderscope with a red LED that aligns seamlessly to the sky. You'll be able to view thousands of objects reaching into deep space with this incredible telescope, thanks to its primary 5-inch mirror that affords an excellent light-gathering capacity. Prepare to marvel at the polar ice caps on Mars, the Great Nebula in Orion, and the cloud belts on Jupiter.

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