people's choice

The Best Telescopes on Amazon, According to Hyperenthusiastic Reviewers

Photo: Courtesy of Fox.

Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing. While we’ve covered the best binoculars, camping gear, and digital cameras, here we’re going deep on the best telescopes on Amazon. (Note that reviews have been edited for length and clarity.)

Best refracting telescope

“For the price, its magnification strength and specifications, buy this. The quality is top of the line: every part of this is heavy, sturdy and reinforced like its made of aircraft material. As far as the quality of image and magnification goes, incredible even on a night not so clear. You will see star clusters where you’ve always seen blackness, and where you once saw one star you will now see many.”

Best refracting telescope $100 and under

Celestron 21061 AstroMaster 70AZ Refractor Telescope

“This is such a great telescope! It was really easy to set-up (and I am a complete novice at these things). We tested it out first on trees and signs in our neighborhood and the clarity is truly amazing! That night there happened to be a full moon and it was absolutely spectacular! I put my phone to the viewfinder and took a few snapshots. You can see all the details of the craters, so stunning!”

Best reflecting telescope


“This telescope is incredible! Absolutely love it. The mount is sturdy and reliable and very easy to use. The optics are easy to adjust. I’ve been able to see the Orion nebula, Andromeda galaxy, Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s moons and cloud belts, and of course craters on the moon. This telescope is the best that I’ve seen out there in this price range.”

Best computerized telescope

Celestron NexStar 6SE Telescope

“The Celestron Nexstar 6SE Telescope is fun, big and heavy, powerful, and really good optics. The night I first used it I used the Skyalign alignment and [it] worked perfectly along with auto 2-star alignment. That night I saw Saturn in really good detail, and what was surprising was I was able to see Swan Nebula and Hercules Cluster all from a heavy light-polluted sky.”

Best Dobsonian telescope

“I’m extremely happy with this purchase and have been enjoying stargazing ever since I bought this telescope. I’ve had some amazing views of Jupiter and Saturn — for the first time in my life I actually saw the Great Red Spot! I love the ease with which I can set up and use this telescope and I also enjoy the software for discovering what is in the night sky. I would definitely recommend this telescope for beginners and intermediates like myself.”

Best Newtonian telescope

“Never owned a high-powered telescope before, figured this model was a great starting point. We love it! The SkyAlign feature works really easily. The first time we set it up I programmed the location and time, BAM right out of the gate it auto-finds everything in the sky! With just this base telescope you can see the moons around Jupiter and the rings around Saturn.”

Best telescope for kids

Celestron 21024 FirstScope Telescope

“I bought this for my 7-year-old nephew who is interested in astronomy. I was very surprised at how well this works. This is a great starter scope with good optics and I’m considering getting one for myself. My other scopes take about ten minutes to set up and this scope makes for quick and easy viewing on nights when I don’t have a lot of time to go outside and observe. If you are looking for a good telescope on a budget, this is the one to get.”

Best travel telescope

“This telescope has reasonably high magnification, crisp image, and total ease of use. This is primarily a viewing scope, but unless you need a scope that tracks the sky for long-exposure photography, or one with a carrying case for camping, this is an excellent choice. It’s a perfect second or beginning scope. You can’t beat it for the price. Highly recommended.”

Best handheld telescope

“I am a stargazer and just having something small and easy to spot something quickly in the night sky has enhanced my stargazing experience. I also use it when I hear something at night or if my neighbor’s dog is barking. Looking out the window at night, your eyes can play tricks on you — with this monocular you can easily see what is going on at night.”

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The Best Telescopes, According to Amazon Reviews