A telescope opens up a whole new world for kids but not all kids’ telescopes are created the same. There is, however, a very big difference between buying a kids’ telescope as another toy versus a hobby. Quality doesn’t really matter if you are looking for a toy.
As a hobby, however, early success with the telescope is crucial as this will give astronomy a chance for a kid. This necessitates the need to know what your child’s interests are when in the market for a telescope.
You don’t want to spend a lot of money on something that’s just going to be a passing fad and neither do you want to buy a cheap telescope that will be difficult to use. That said, this post outlines everything you need to know when looking for the best telescopes for kids.
Best Telescope Brands for Kids
Like most consumer goods, buying from popular brands is one of the best ways to ensure that you purchase reliable telescopes. Here are companies that offer value for money when it comes to exploring space.
Based in Torrance, California, Celestron is an optical instruments company that manufactures telescopes. It also distributes spotting scopes, binoculars, microscopes as well as other accessories manufactured by Synta Technology Corporation of Taiwan. It was founded in 1955 and has since established itself as an industry leader in the world of optics. The most popular product lines by Celestron include NexStar, PowerSeeker and TravelScope.
Orion Telescopes and Binoculars
This is an American based company founded in 1975 and which sells binoculars, telescopes as well as other accessories in-store and online. Many of the products they sell are manufactured by Synta Technology Corporation for the Orion brand name. They ship telescopes and other optic equipment all over the United States and more than 20 countries. The company is a prominent advertiser in North American astronomy magazines such as Astronomy and Sky & Telescope.
A List of the Best Telescopes For Kids
Magnification of 26x
80mm achromatic primary objective lens
Short focal length of 400 mm
Retails at less than $50
Magnification of 10x
includes an 8 inch (203 mm) primary mirror and focal length of 1200 mm
1.25” to 2” eyepiece adapter
Padded backpack case
Focal ratio of f/5.7
2x Barlow lens also allows for 45x, 90x, 100x and up to 150x magnification
High quality glass optics as well as 9mm and 20mm eyepieces
equipped with a Newtonian reflector, 1000 mm focal length and 127 mm aperture.
Two eyepieces of 20mm and 4mm as well as a 3x Barlow lens
It comes with a 5.1 inch aperture reflector
The primary mirror has a focal length of 650mm
Newtonian reflector optical design
It comes with a 3 inch objective mirror and has a focal length of 300 mm
fully coated optics
25 mm (36x) eyepiece and 10mm (91x) eyepiece
The NexStar 130 SLT is a unique reflector telescope from Celestron that uses maximum amount of light possible to produce images of astonishing clarity. It is also easy to set up, has a relatively large aperture and its ease of use makes it a great option for kids. The telescope is appealing and reliable for a variety of stargazing scenarios.
The Celestron NextStar 130 SLT is a Newtonian reflector telescope that is designed to maximize celestial views with an eyepiece magnification of 26x. The ability of this model to use mirrors to collect as well as distribute light across detailed views of distant objects allows for clear views of details like the Great Orion Nebula and the Hercules globular cluster.
The 130mm aperture allows for 30% more light compared to its predecessor which cames with a 114 mm aperture. The preassembled tripod as well as its single fork arm mount allow for easy set-up. Finding focus is easy with the integrated Star Pointer technology and computerized Altazimuth mount.
The telescope’s scope makes it extremely easy to use, especially for kids, as it automatically aligns itself when focused on three objects in the sky. The main downside is that one needs to input the date and time every time when using this model. It also needs to be collimated occasionally.
The design of this model was geared towards offering the value and quality that astronomy beginners needs as well as the ease that kids would appreciate; and all things considered, I have to admit that TwinStar certainly hit the nail on the head. It comes with a small scope with very good optics and useful accessories that make portability easy.
Perhaps the best thing about the TwinStar AstroMark Portable 80mm is that it is versatile and can therefore be used for a variety of applications including stargazing as well as bird watching. It features a 80mm achromatic primary objective lens that is fully coated and has a short focal length of 400 mm. The product comes with two Kellner 1.25 inches in diameter eyepieces that allow for clear, bright images as well as one 6x26 finding scope.
Also included in the standard package is a mini-tripod and bag. It is a wonderful gift for your astronomy loving kid as he will get to see and observe the Moons of Jupiter, Rings of the Saturn and the Earth’s Moon in stunning detail.
Retailing at less than $50 and built for small hands, the Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. My First Telescope allows kids between the ages of 4 and 6 to explore the moon. The focus-free telescope comes with a magnification of 10x and wide field of vision, both of which are essential for children looking to develop a basic understanding of outer space. The telescope also comes with a lens cap and a built-in diagonal mirror.
The nose-cut-out guide as well as comfy goggle allow for perfect eye placement while the adjustable tripod allows for tabletop viewing. This model is also collapsible for compact and easy storage. The standard package comes with an instructional guide that showcases the various phases of the moon and which features four languages. It is incredibly light thus ideal for moving around the house and yard to find the perfect spot.
It is also easy to set it up and the colorful nature of the Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. My First Telescope is just the icing on the cake for curious children who would love to explore the night sky.
Dobsonian reflector telescopes are a popular choice among kids and young astronomers who are just getting started. For them, the no-frills setup is much better compared to computerized go-to scopes that others prefer. The Orion SkyQuest XT8 is a mid-range dobsonian reflector telescope that is packed with a whole lot of features that kids will appreciate.
It offers an excellent balance of performance, price, and portability. The raw specifications of this model includes an 8 inch (203 mm) primary mirror and focal length of 1200 mm. Your young astronomer will love the 2” focuser that allows for larger eyepieces as well as the T- adapter for short-exposure astro-photography.
The 1.25” to 2” eyepiece adapter allows kids to use 1.25” eyepieces without the risk of noticeable slope. It also features a 25 mm Plossl eyepiece and Orion’s EZ Finder II sight, which some users choose to replace with a Telrad non-magnified finder, laser pointer or correct image finder scope. Assembling the XT8 takes 30 minutes when alone, but less time with help.
The mount base is very sturdy and allows for smooth rotation of the optical tube thanks to the Teflon azimuth bearings. With a carrying handle and total weight of 40 pounds combined with the above features, it’s easy to see why the Orion SkyQuest XT8 is a great choice for kids.
This is an excellent choice for youngsters looking for portability and an easy set up. It boasts many great features including padded backpack case, Sky X software and focal ratio of f/5.7. The telescope comes pre-assembled and ready to go.
The 2.76 inch aperture provides bright, crisp images. Perhaps the best feature of the 21035 is the range of accessories that it comes with. For starters, it comes with a great backpack that fits everything your child needs to use the telescope including the tripod and other accessories.
The package also comes with 10mm and 20mm eyepieces that give you a variety of options depending on what type of terrestrial objects will be viewed. The integrated Sky X software makes it easy to learn the basics of astronomy as well as how to use the scope. The telescope itself is very sturdy, but it has plastic focuser and finder. The altazmiuth mount is suitable for the model and the tripod is best suited for tabletop use.
Considering its features, the Celestron 21035 is reasonably priced and of great value. One of the best qualities of this telescope is that it is lightweight, making portability easy. The backpack that comes with it offers a great way to transport the telescope.
My First Lab is a leading manufacturer of cool educational toys. The Stargazer was specially designed to be an affordable solution for older kids and pique their interest in science. It is a particularly good option if your child is interested in learning more about the universe and what it is made of. The telescope comes with high quality glass optics as well as 9mm and 20mm eyepieces.
The 2x Barlow lens also allows for 45x, 90x, 100x and up to 150x magnification, making the scope sufficient for kids to observe the details of the moon or the Rings of Saturn. One of the best attributes of this telescope is that it is easy to set-up. The standard package is inclusive of a heavy duty tripod whose base is supported by three legs for ease of use and stability. All in all, My First Lab Stargazer Telescope provides kids with a wonderful opportunity to explore the outer universe.
The altazmiuth mount is suitable for the model and the tripod is best suited for tabletop use. Considering its features, the Celestron 21035 is reasonably priced and of great value. One of the best qualities of this telescope is that it is lightweight, making portability easy. The backpack that comes with it offers a great way to transport the telescope.
This telescope is a super performer and everything one would wish for in its price category. This model is one of the many in Celestron’s Powerseeker series that was specially designed for aspiring astronomers.
A rather portable telescope, the Celestron 127 EQ Powerseeker can fit in the trunk. It is equipped with a Newtonian reflector, 1000 mm focal length and 127 mm aperture. From a technical point of view, this model comes with all coated optical glass components for improved brightness and clarity of images.
It also features two eyepieces of 20mm and 4mm as well as a 3x Barlow lens. This helps increase the viewing power so that your kid can view outer space objects in great detail. It comes with several accessories including a tripod stand for a stable platform an accessory tray, Sky Level I software that provides educational content about the sky including maps, a smooth functioning and rigid equatorial mount with setting circles in both axes, as well as all coated glass optics.
The aperture size allows kids to explore as much as they want to while learning about astronomy. Celestron 127 EQ Powerseeker comes with a with a limited two-year warranty, whose full details can be found on the
If your kid is looking to get into astronomy as a hobby, he needs a telescope with good optics, excellent views and tracking capabilities. The Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST ticks all of the above boxes and more. It comes with a 5.1 inch aperture reflector, an excellent size that allows for powerful light gathering capabilities. The optical tube measures 24 inches long, making it great for wide-field viewing as well as portability purposes.
The primary mirror has a focal length of 650mm, which provides brighter images and provides young astronomers with a large field of view. The telescope comes with two Sirius Plossl lenses that are 1.25 inches thick and measure 25mm by 10mm for better magnification. Other optics accessories include a tripod accessory tray, rack and collimation cap.
One thing to note about this model is that it is neither computerized nor automatic as it’s specially designed for kids and beginners. It does not require a battery to run while the adjustable tripod and EQ-2 equatorial telescope mount make it easy to keep a straight line of view. Set up is quite easy as all you need is balance it and align the finder scope.The Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST also features the Starry Night Software that provides kids with relevant information to get started with astronomy.
The telescope is a model designed for kids that features a Newtonian reflector optical design. It comes with a 3 inch objective mirror and has a focal length of 300 mm that make it suitable for planetary, lunar and limited deep space exploration. The telescope also has two fully multi-coated Kellner eyepieces, each with a diameter of 1.25 inches.
The 10mm eyepiece has a maximum magnification 30x while that of the 20mm eyepiece is 15x. Both provide a variety of viewing options for kids. The red-dot StarPointer finderscope has a ultra wide view that your kid appreciate. It comes with a table-top altazimuth mount that allows for easy control of the telescope when tracking objects like comets or nebulae.
Assembling and transportation is easy so that one can spend less time setting it up and more viewing the night sky. The telescope features the Cosmos eye nebula design, which makes for dynamic views. Also included in the package is a free downloadable planetarium app compatible with iOS and Android devices as well as a color Cosmic Calender.
This classic refractor optics telescope from Celestron is a great investment for discerning astronomers. It comes with a wi-fi operated go to mount that changes how your kid interacts with the night sky. The Astro Fi 90mm Refractor Telescope can be controlled using the Celestron SkyPortal app on your tablet or smartphone. This app replaces the traditional hand control with a 100% wireless experience that allows for more convenience.
Simply tap the screen when you see something you like and the machine will automatically slew to the object. The screen will also display all the basic information about the object. Perhaps the best attribute of this telescope is that it creates its own wireless connections, meaning that one can communicate with it even when in remote locations.
The telescope is built using the patented SkyAlign technology that allows one calculate positions of objects in the sky as well as generate a Sky Tour of all the celestial objects to view based on exact location and time. The 90mm refractor also features fully coated optics that offer spectacular view of the Hercules Globular, Orion Nebula, Great Red Spot on Jupiter, Rings of Saturn, craters of the Moon and more. Other notable features include 25 mm (36x) eyepiece and 10mm (91x) eyepiece, mount type single altazimuth, focal ratio of 10.1, focal length of 910mm as well as 90mm aperture.
Shoot for the stars. The sky is the limit. Dream – This is advice that parents and grandparents have given children for centuries. And what better way to inspire kids to learn more about the universe than getting them a telescope. While a book about the milky way will teach them about stars, solar system and the planets, a telescope will give them a first-hand look at the beauty, inspiration and intrigue.
They will wonder, dream, and set their eyes on the stars. And who knows, they may even become the next Sally Ride or Neil Armstrong. But remember, it all starts with making the right choice of a kid’s telescope.
If you are also interested in cameras to join this new adventure we support Astrophotography.