A telescope is a vital tool you need if planning on taking up astronomy as a hobby. It helps you to closely view faint terrestrial objects and have a glimpse of what makes up our solar system. If you are tight on budget, you might want to consider some of our entry level 2017 best telescopes under $200.
They may not include technical features like the over-priced ones, but are surely good for beginner astronomers. Furthermore, these telescopes are carefully selected with considerations such as quality of image, aperture size, magnification, customer feedback, and price range factored in for your informed decision.
A List of the Best Telescopes Under $200
The telescope can see through light pollution – something that comes handy if living in urban areas.
The up-right image makes daytime observation easy.
Perfect for deep-sky observing in dark skies due to the large aperture.
Delivers bright images with less optical irregularities.
The telescope can handle light pollution – something that comes handy if living in urban areas.
The telescope magnification power allows you to see the moon’s detailed craters, Jupiter’s Surface and other planets
The telescope views the solar system, star clusters and bright cloudy nebulas.
EZ Finder II red-dot sight makes it easy to accurately aim the Go Scope.
Easy installation requiring no tools.
Erect object optics - perfect for terrestrial applications.
Portable and super light for easy grab and go.
The large aperture collects more light thus providing more detailed images.
Ideal for terrestrial as well as astronomical activity.
Super-light for easy storage and portability.
The telescope is ideal for deep-sky object observation such as galaxies, nebulae, and faint stars
Crisp and clear images with zero chromatic aberrations
Simple and easy to use.
Yoke mount with declination axis and a stainless-steel tripod stand
InfinityTM 102mm Altazimuth Refractor Telescope by Meade Instruments – an excellent beginner telescope
The Infinity 102MM Altazimuth refractor telescope is a complete set of everything you need while viewing the skyline for the first time. This Meade Instruments series combines quality optics and altazimuth mount at a cutoff price.
Type of telescope: Refractor telescope – has a big lens at the front for gathering and focusing light to the mirror. The mirror then passes the refracted image to the eyepiece. The image is not reversed making it easier to view.
Aperture: This telescope has the largest aperture size in the Infinity series. The 102mm aperture gathers more light for a brighter detailed image. It also comes with three eyepieces and a panhandle that allows easy adjustments when locating objects. The focal length is 600mm.
Mount type: The telescope features an aluminum altazimuth mount that moves up and down as well as right to left. This mount includes an adjustable tray with slow-motion controls.
Magnification: The telescope comes with three different eyepieces - Low (26mm), medium (9mm), and high (6.3mm) suited for any viewing situation.
Lens: Comes with a 2X Barwol lens that doubles the magnifying power of each eyepiece.
Assembled dimension:53 x 34 x 34 inches
Other features: Includes an AutoStar Suite Astronomer Edition software DVD that contains information of over 10000 celestial objects. Red dot viewfinder feature helps you target the object you want to view.
- The telescope can see through light pollution – something that comes handy if living in urban areas.
- The up-right image makes daytime observation easy.
- Easy to assemble.
- As a refractor telescope you don’t have mirrors to align.
- Tracking astronomic objects is harder than an EQ mount because the adjustments feature left, right, up, down controls while Equatorial telescope mounts turn with the rotation of the Earth.
Verdict: An excellent choice for beginners looking for a telescope to view both terrestrial and astronomical objects.
The Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ opens up to the wonders of the sky to aspiring astronomers of all ages. This 127mm Newtonian telescope with EQ mount is the ideal choice for a high quality yet affordable telescope for families that love to explore the universe.
Type of telescope: Reflector telescope - uses mirrors instead of lens and the eye piece is located inside the main tube. The mirror at the back of the telescope focuses and reflects the image to another mirror. This second mirror later focuses the image into the eyepiece.
Aperture: The telescope has a 127mm aperture with 1000mm focal length.
Reflector: Its Newtonian reflectors are made of glass with high transmission coating for enhanced clarity and image brightness.
Mount type: The telescope comes with a German Equatorial mount with slow motion controls for smooth object tracking. The German EQ mount is perfectly suited for tracking astronomical objects in the night sky while its collapsible AZ mount is suited for terrestrial viewing.
Magnification: The telescope comes with two magnification eyepieces: 50x and 250x for a greater viewing range.
Lens: The telescope comes with a 3X Barwol lens that triples the eyepiece magnification.
Assembly dimensions: 11 x 17 x 33 inches
Other Features: Comes with aluminum tripod and accessory tray for convenient storage, two-year warranty, compatibility add-ons and inclusive of The Sky – First edition of planetarium software with enhanced images and 10,000 object databases.
- Perfect for deep-sky observing in dark skies due to the large aperture.
- Delivers bright images with less optical irregularities.
- Features erect image optics that makes viewing easy for children and beginners.
- Ideal for both terrestrial and astronomical applications.
- Quick and easy with no-tool setup.
- Does not work well in a light polluted region especially in highly populated areas.
- The reflectors require regular maintenance.
Verdict: The PowerSeeker series is engineered to give beginner astronomers the perfect combination of value, features, quality and power.
Orion 10012 SkyScanner 100mm Table Top Reflector – an ideal entry-level reflector telescope for kids
The Orion 10012 SkyScanner is not a toy but a perfect table top reflector for young astronomer’s intuitive mind. It is strictly designed for beginners. This 100mm aperture parabolic mirror telescope with 400mm focal length will amaze you with its detailed view of the skyline.
Type of Telescope: The Orion 10012 SkyScanner is a reflecting telescope
Aperture: Unlike other telescopes for beginners that embrace plastic lenses, The Orion 10012 SkyScanner uses parabolic mirror optics with100mm aperture and 400mm focal length.
Reflector: This telescope relies on parabolic mirror optics as its primary reflectors. These mirrors offer low-power, wide-angle viewing of the Milky Way and other deep sky objects in relatively dark skies.
Mount type: The telescope features an AZ Table Top made of steel.
Magnification: The SkyScanner includes two separate1.25 inch eyepieces with 20x and 40x magnification. The two eyepieces allow a non-inclusive 1.25 inch Orion eyepiece filters that enable easy view enhancement thanks to the special filters.
Dimension: 9.5 x 9.5 x 14 inches Weight: 6.2lbs
Other Features: Includes EZ Finder II aiming device, one year warranty, and Starry Night astronomy software.
- The telescope can handle light pollution – something that comes handy if living in urban areas.
- The telescope magnification power allows you to see the moon’s detailed craters, Jupiter’s Surface and other planets
- This tabletop telescope is large enough to spot objects in the night sky, but also small
- Not a great choice if you want to view terrestrial objects.
- Its reflectors require regular maintainance.
Verdict: This SkyScanner Series is a good choice for people looking to explore the nighttime sky as inexpensively and conveniently as possible.
The Orion Goscope 80mm Tabletop Refractor Telescope is an entry-level, ultra-compact refractor that makes a high-quality first telescope option for amateur astronomers. Its convenient size makes it a true grab and go refractor, perfect for your astronomy hobbies. Key Features
Type of telescope: The Orion Goscope is a refractor telescope.
Aperture: The Orion Goscope has an 80mm aperture that collects 30% more light than the 70mm counterpart while 70% more light than the 60mm aperture telescope. The telescope has a focal length of about 430mm.
Mount type: The telescope features a light-weight base that can easily be mounted on a tripod with a 1/4-20 threaded post or 3/8 inch.
Magnification: The telescope includes two eyepieces – the 20mm (17.5x magnification best suited for deep-sky observation) and 10mm (35x magnification suited for observing the moon and its craters). This Orion refractor series uses an internal focuser as opposed to the traditional nobs used to move the eyepieces.
Dimension measurements: 13 x 8 x 13 inchesWeight: 5.7lbs
Other Features: Features 90 degrees’ diagonal that bends the light for easier viewing. Inclusive also is the Starry Night Special Edition software, one Lithium ion battery, and EZ Finder II red dot sight
- The telescope views the solar system, star clusters and bright cloudy nebulas.
- EZ Finder II red-dot sight makes it easy to accurately aim the Go Scope.
- Lightweight design lets you take the Go Scope anywhere.
- Highly portable.
- Ideal for beginners especially children.
- Requires Lithium ion battery for powering.
Verdict: This little portable telescope packs a big performance punch thanks to its solid tabletop base and 80mm aperture refractor optics. As a beginner telescope it surely excels at wide-field stargazing.
The Celestron 21036 PowerSeeker 70AZ Telescope is a permanently mounted refractor that’s perfect for first timers. This telescope gives erect images and is perfect for terrestrial and astronomical viewing. It features optical lens of 70mm diameter and a pan handle Alt-Az control with a clutch that helps in accurate and smooth pointing.
Type of telescope: The Celestron 21036 PowerSeeker 70AZ Telescope is a refractor.
Aperture: This telescope features a 70mm aperture
Reflector: The telescope features fully coated glass optics with high transmission coatings that enhanced image clarity and brightness.
Mount type: This refractor includes an Alt-Azimuth mount with slow motion controls for smooth tracking and adjustable aluminum tripod for support.
Magnification: The telescope features a high and low eyepiece for a range of magnification strengths
Lens: The telescope features a 3x Barlow lens that triples the magnifying power of each eyepiece.
Dimension measurements: 10 x 13 x 38 inchesWeight: 13pounds
Other Features: Inclusive of an accessory tray for storage of accessories and The Sky – First edition of planetarium software with 75 enhanced images and printable sky maps.
- Easy installation requiring no tools.
- Erect object optics - perfect for terrestrial applications.
- Light, portable and affordable telescope.
- Features correct image prism.
- The telescope has a lot of plastic parts, including the 3X barlow and the finder scope.
- Does not track astronomic objects like the moon and other planets.
- Features super lightweight tripod stand.
Verdict: Celestron's PowerSeeker 70AZ is a great choice due to its very good achromatic optics in a package that's ultra-light, affordable and portable.
The Cometron 114AZ is another great reflecting telescope product by Celestron. This telescope has a modified Newtonian design. Its tube is 18 inches long with a short focal length and built in corrector lenses of 1000mm focal length.
Type of telescope: This is a Reflector telescope that uses a series of mirrors to collect light needed to view an image.
Aperture: Feature a 114mm aperture that gives you clear images.
Reflector: Quality optical design--parabolic mirror with special coating. This mirror provides clear image eliminating spherical aberration.
Mount type: Uses a German equatorial mount which takes account the earth’s rotation.
Magnification: The telescope includes two eyepieces (50x and 100x magnification) along with a mounted Starpointer scope.
Dimension measurements: 32 x 52 x 34 inchesWeight: 12pounds
Other Features: Inclusive of 1.25inch tripod stand with deluxe accessory trap, first edition astronomy software, and two-year warranty.
- Portable and super light for easy grab and go.
- The large aperture collects more light thus providing more detailed images.
- Ideal for observing star clusters, comets, galaxies, and more.
- Challenging when learning to use the scope and mount.
Verdict: This telescope makes it a good size amateur telescope that is easy to handle.
The Celestron Explora Scope 60 AZ NPF Edition is designed with portability in mind. This exceptional telescope offers high-performance at a low cost. IT features a refractor optical design fully coated glass lenses for sharp, bright views. The panhandle AZ control with clutch allows accurate and smooth pointing. While the included red-dot Starpointer finderscope helps in sighting objects in the night-sky and center them in the eyepiece.
Type of telescope: The Celestron Explora Scope 60AZ NPZ edition is a refractor telescope.
Aperture: The telescope has a 60mm aperture – a convenient size for a beginner’s telescope.
Mount type: Includes a panhandle AZ mount control with clutch for a smooth and accurate pointing.
Magnification: The kit is inclusive of two eyepieces(8mm and 20mm), a 3x Barlow lens(triples the magnification power of each eyepiece), moon filter, erect image diagonal – for correct image orientation, and 5x20 permanently mounted red-dot StarPointer. finderscope.
Lens: The telescope comes with coated glass lenses for sharp brighter objects.
Dimension measurements: 25.1 x 27.4 x 44.5 inchesWeight: 5.5lbs
Other Features: Inclusive of a compass, Sky portal smartphone app, LED flashlight, full-height aluminum tripod, accessory tray, and a carrier backpack.
- Ideal for terrestrial as well as astronomical activity.
- Super-light for easy storage and portability.
- Does not have high magnification as the other telescopes in the same series
Verdict: This long-tube refractor is among the best travelling telescope due to its ultra-lightness and portability.
Levenhuk Skyline 130x900 EQ is a reflector telescope is best-suited for observations of astronomical objects. It is also ideal for observations of planets, even the most remote ones such as Jupiter and Saturn. The telescope produces crispy clear images with zero aberrations.
Telescope type: Newtonian telescope / Reflector
Aperture: 130mm objective lens diameter with 900mm Focal length
Magnification: the telescope has two multi-layer coating eyepiece glasses for magnification: SUPER 10, SUPER 25 and a Finder scope: 6x24
Mount: Equatorial mount with aluminum tripod
- The telescope is ideal for deep-sky object observation such as galaxies, nebulae, and faint stars
- Crisp and clear images with zero chromatic aberrations
- Can also be used as an astrophotography.
- The reflectors require regular maintenance
Verdict: This Newtonian scope is all about the learning experience.
Levenhuk Strike 80 NG is among the best telescopes for beginner astronomers. This telescope is suited for at-home use. The 80NG magnification of 360x lets you observe the Moon’s finer details, the Cassini Gap, see phases of Mercury, atmospheric flows of Jupiter, Iapetus, and many more wonders of the sky. Levenhuk Strike 80 NG Telescope, it stays truly simple and easy to use – any child can easy set it up. Like all NG series models, the Levenhuk Strike 80 NG is used for terrestrial observations.
Telescope type: Achromatic refractor
Objective lens diameter: 80 mm.
Focal length: 720 mm.
Mount: Yoke mount with declination axis and a stainless-steel tripod stand
Magnification: Two eyepieces: F20 mm, F6 mm , 3x Barlow lens, Finder scope: Red Dot 3x20 for crispy clear magnification.
- Simple and easy to use.
- Can only be used for terrestrial observations.
Verdict: Perfect for amateur astronomers.
Astronomy can be a great hobby if you have the right equipment in place. Choosing a telescope as a beginner is not as easy as it seems. With the technicality of telescope features and multitude of options choosing may be hard as a first timer.
It is best to go for a simple telescope that has less complicated features. Such telescope whether reflectors or refractors cost less. With our suggested list, we hope you are able to make the best selection that suits you well.