The 6 Best Budget Telescopes of 2024

Best Budget Telescopes

The 6 Best Budget Telescopes of 2024

Key Points

  • Budget telescopes offer a quality view of the night sky without breaking the bank.
  • The Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ is ideal for beginners and comes with all the necessary accessories.
  • The Celestron Travel Scope 70 is a budget-friendly option for beginners and is lightweight and portable.
  • The Orion StarMax 90 Tabletop is a compact and portable telescope that offers powerful views of celestial objects.
  • The Orion StarBlast II 4.5 provides outstanding wide-angle views and is great for viewing the Moon.
  • The Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 80AZ is compatible with smartphones and offers easy setup and integration.
  • The ToyerBee Telescope is perfect for young children and includes a wireless remote for capturing photos.
  • Consider the type of mount and optics when purchasing a budget telescope.
  • Using a budget telescope allows you to explore the mysteries of space and easily identify celestial objects.

Whether you want to see the stars or the latest rocket launch, having a budget telescope is a great way to explore the heavens. Even with a budget telescope, you are going to get a quality view of the world well above Earth and do so without breaking the bank. 

As there is just something truly incredible about a clear night sky when the stars are out in force, having a budget telescope to see it is a great way to get started with this popular hobby. The good news is that budget-friendly pricing on a telescope doesn’t mean you are making too many sacrifices!

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 6 budget telescopes you can buy today. 

#1 Best Overall: Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ

#1 Best Overall
Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ Smartphone App-Enabled Telescope
  • Works with StarSense app to help you find stars, planets, and more
  • 130mm Newtonian reflector
  • iPhone/Android compatible
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01/16/2024 06:09 pm GMT

There is no question the Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ is pushing the limits on what is considered budget pricing, but it’s hard to ignore just how good of a telescope this is.

The focal point of the Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ is undoubtedly its 130mm Newtonian reflector, which is a 5-inch mirror that gathers enough light to see the Moon, Saturn, Mars, Jupiter, and other deep sky objects. 

Ideal for beginners, the Celestron stands out thanks to its lack of a learning curve, which means the first night you take it out to view the sky, you should be able to see any number of celestial objects. In fact, everything you need is available with the StarSense, which includes 2 eyepieces, a 2x Barlow lens, a red dot finderscope, and a full-height tripod. 

When paired with a smartphone, the 130AZ really shows its stuff to help analyze star patterns and point you in the right direction for any object you hope to see. Better yet, the Celestron app will give you a list of all planets, stars, and galaxies viewable from your location. 

Grab your Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ telescope from Amazon today. 

Very easy for beginnersManual operation without a smartphone
Excellent suggestions with the smartphone app

Best for Beginners: Celestron Travel Scope 70

Best for Beginners
Celestron 70mm Travel Scope DX Portable Refractor Telescope
  • 70mm
  • Fully coated glass optics
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Bonus astronomy software package
  • Digiscoping smartphone adapter
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01/16/2024 06:13 pm GMT

Bringing this price down to under $100 when on sale, the Celestron Travel Scope 70 is the perfect telescope for beginners. 

As a beginner, having a large 700m lens on a refractor telescope is a great way to start exploring the stars without worrying too much about extras. Paired with either a 20mm or 10mm eyepiece, you can still get low and high-power views of the skies without feeling like you are overpaying for a beginner telescope. 

Even with its budget-friendly price tag, the Celestron Travel Scope 70 still enables you to capture images or video through the eyepiece with your smartphone. Activate the Bluetooth shutter release and you capture all of the images you want for sharing through your social media or just keep them for yourself. 

Weighing only 3.3 pounds in total, the Travel Scope 70 is also highly portable, so you can take it with you on trips when you find a perfect opportunity to see the night sky. With 168x total magnification possible, you’re still going to get a whole lot of use with this budget-friendly telescope without feeling like you are missing out on seeing every crater close up on the Moon. 

If you’re just getting started with telescopes, pick up the Celestron Travel Scope 70 from Amazon today. 

Very budget-friendly price tagNo smartphone holder
Very lightweightOnly includes two different eyepieces

Best Tabletop: Orion StarMax 90 Tabletop

Best Tabletop
Orion 10022 StarMax 90mm TableTop Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope
  • 90mm
  • Manual Focus
  • Reflex finderscope
  • Weighs just 6.5 lbs
  • Includes two 1.25" eyepieces (25mm and 10mm focal lengths), EZ Finder II reflex sight for easy aiming, 90 degree mirror diagonal for comfortable night sky viewing, and more
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01/16/2024 06:17 pm GMT

If you’re looking for a tabletop telescope that can sit on a flat surface and is always ready to use, the Orion StarMax 90 Tabletop Telescope is a great option. 

Offering you powerful views of the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and more, the Orion StarMax 90 tabletop telescope is incredibly impressive for its size. At just 6.5 pounds, this compact telescope can truly go anywhere, which means it’s great for camping, trips, or even for just sitting on your patio at night and looking toward the stars. 

With a 90mm aperture, don’t let the size of the StarMax 90 fool you as it can still pull in more than enough light to give you a clear view of many different galaxies and nebulas. The two 1.25-inch eyepieces at 25mm and 10mm focal lengths assist with the views and help you and the whole family have a great evening looking for different activities in the sky. 

Even as a tabletop telescope, the 90-degree diagonal viewfinder ensures you don’t have to try and look through the lens in an awkward position. Plus, you have the EZ Finder II reflex sight for easily aligning the telescope at your chosen object. 

Go forth and see the stars with the Orion StarMax 90 Tabletop from Amazon today. 

Awesome portable grab-and-go sizeOnly comes with two eyepieces
Great viewfinder angle for easy viewingNo smartphone syncing

Best Wide-Angle Views: Orion StarBlast II 4.5

Best Wide-Angle Views
Orion StarBlast II 4.5 Equatorial Reflector Telescope
  • Parabolic primary mirror
  • Convenient portability
  • Easy-to-use operation
  • Views of everything from the Moon and planets to distant objects like star clusters and galaxies appear bright and clear through this petite telescope
  • A fantastic wide-field astronomy telescope with reflecting optics large enough to keep you and your family busy viewing for years to come
  • Included EQ mount makes it easy to keep moving objects centered in the eyepiece with its handy slow-motion controls
  • Includes 25mm and 10mm Plossl eyepieces that provide 18-power and 45-power views right out of the box, a DeepMap 600, MoonMap 260, smartphone camera adapter, EZ Finder II reflex sight, and a adjustable-height tripod
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For anyone who is looking for the best way to get the widest angle view in the budget-friendly telescope space, the Orion StarBlast II 4.5 is a terrific option. 

Even with a bit of a learning curve around the equatorial mount, the Orion StarBlast II 4.5 truly delivers incredible results once you learn the physical controls. 

By learning how the mount works, you can start to take advantage of this telescope’s incredible viewing possibilities with its 25mm and 10mm Plossl eyepieces. The 4.5-inch diameter reflector tube enables the StarBlast to grab a whole lot of light from the night sky, which in turn provides very bright and clear images of space. 

If you want to look at craters, valleys, or mountains on the Moon, this is the telescope you want. The wide-field f/4.0 reflector is just superb in the budget-friendly space. Paired with an EZ Finder II reflex sight as an aiming device, finding exactly what you want to view is easy even for beginners. 

Last but not least, a smartphone camera adapter helps you quickly locate exactly where in the sky you should be focusing. 

Can you find Little Green Men with the Orion StarBlast II 4.5 from Amazon? 

Outstanding wide-angle viewsRequires a bit of learning
Pulls in tons of light for a crystal-clear view

Best Smartphone Compatibility: Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 80AZ

Best Smartphone Compatibility
Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 80AZ Smartphone App-Enabled Telescope
  • Works with the StarSense app
  • iPhone/Android compatible
  • Altazimuth Mount
  • 80mm
  • 2-year U.S. warranty
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01/16/2024 06:22 pm GMT

When you want a telescope that can offer you a seamless way to integrate your smartphone, the Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 80AZ is the way to go. 

Instead of worrying about searching endlessly hoping to find something on your own, the Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 80AZ does all the heavy lifting for you. By making use of a downloadable app on your smartphone, all you have to do is align your telescope and then look at the screen of the phone to see the names of objects, stars, comets, planets, and more in the direction you are looking. 

Better yet, look through the smartphone app to find the object you want to discover and then the app will help walk you through how to find everything. Just follow the arrows like it’s the yellow brick road and you’ll be a space pro in no time. 

Setup for the StarSense is a breeze as is using the 80mm refractor, which will deliver some incredibly sharp views of a variety of planets in our galaxy. Best of all, the 80AZ is only 9.2 pounds, so it’s definitely portable to take on an adventure. 

Connect your smartphone to the Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 80AZ from Amazon today. 

Excellent smartphone integrationSlightly pricier
Easy setupRequires the smartphone app to really get your money’s worth

Best for Young Children: ToyerBee Telescope

Best for Young Children
ToyerBee Telescope 70mm
  • 70mm
  • 300mm portable refractor (15X - 150X)
  • Smartphone adapter and wireless remote included
  • Equipped with 2 eyepieces (H20mm and H6mm) and a 3X Barlow lens
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01/16/2024 06:23 pm GMT

Finding the right telescope to give your children their first opportunity to see the stars can be a big decision, which is why the ToyerBee Telescope is such a great choice. 

The ToyerBee starts off with a focus on its 70mm lens that can help deliver all the way up to 150x magnification. The larger aperture delivered by the 70mm lens also helps let in plenty of light so you can see the star in bright light. 

Paired with a 20mm and 6mm eyepiece, the ToyerBee gives you an opportunity to sit down with a child and have magical moments when looking at the moon or other planets. This is truly a great telescope for kids starting right around 8 years old and above. 

Where the ToyerBee also stands out is with its ability to use a smartphone to help guide parents to finding objects for children to see, but also with its wireless remote. Using a wireless remote, you can take photos of whatever the telescope is seeing, which makes it easy to capture family memories you can look back on for years to come. 

Assembly is super easy and with a 3-year warranty, kids and parents alike can use the ToyerBee telescope for years to come. 

Start a new family telescope tradition with the ToyerBee Telescope by picking one up from Amazon today. 

Perfect for young childrenLimited to 2 eyepieces
Includes a wireless remoteRequires a smartphone for best results
hexeum telescope
There is just something magical about being able to see the full night sky from a budget-friendly telescope.

What to Know Before Buying a Budget Telescope

Before you jump into any budget-friendly telescope purchase, you want to consider a few important things.

First and foremost to think about is the type of mount. If you want a lightweight mount, you’re going to want to go with an option that offers a tripod. Many tripod telescopes can extend or become more compact to help you find the ideal fit for your height. 

Alternatively, you can also look at a tabletop telescope, which offers a far more compact option and is great for people of all ages. The key criterion is to make sure you have your telescope, whether it’s a tripod or tabletop, on a stable surface so as to make adjustments to the telescope without worrying about shaking. 

The other big consideration when looking at a new telescope purchase is optics. Ideally, you would select one of 3 types. A refractor telescope helps you see nearby planets by using a series of glass lenses. If you opt for a reflector telescope, you can see far deeper into space. Now, if you combine both of these with a Versatile Compound option, you can find a middle ground where you can see really great up-close shots of the Moon and nearby planets while also looking deeper into space. 

Using a Budget Telescope: What It’s Like

No matter the cost of a telescope, budget-friendly or premium, you are going to have a good time. There is just something magical about being able to look into space, into a part of the universe where only a handful of people have traveled, and look at the mysteries of what lies beyond Earth

With any of the telescopes on this list, you are going to be able to see the Moon and local planets with ease. In fact, there is a good chance you’ll be able to easily identify many of the named craters on the Moon, so that is something to start trying right away. 

Things get even easier with these telescopes when you include the smartphone capabilities to help you quickly identify areas of exploration. Being able to easily identify where any constellation can be found is just a great experience. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best overall budget telescope you can purchase today?

As of 2024, the best overall budget telescope you can purchase today is the Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ. 

How much should you spend on a budget telescope?

Ideally, you would spend between $100-$200 with a budget that is slightly flexible if you want a few more features. 

Do you need a tripod?

You do not! You can use a tabletop telescope and still get great results. 

How powerful does your telescope need to be to see nearby planets?

Ideally, you want a telescope with between a 60-70mm aperture to be able to see nearby planets like Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. 

Are telescopes easy to use?

All telescopes have a bit of a learning curve, but setup can be very easy with the options here on this list. 

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