Looking for the Best Telescopes under $500? Read on as we cover the best on the market.
A telescope is an essential item to have if you love watching land-based objects and celestial bodies. Telescopes come in different shapes and sizes to suit the needs of different users. Additionally, the price of telescopes varies from one model to the other depending on the features and quality of materials used.
With telescopes, you get what you pay for. The more expensive the telescope is, the more features it has. If you are on a budget, there are hundreds of telescopes under $500 that you can choose from.
We have a detailed buying guide of the best telescopes under $500 to help you choose right. Let’s take a look.
Best Telescopes under $500-Our Top Picks
Gskyer Telescope AZ70400
This Gskyer Telescope AZ70400 is a multi-purpose telescope suitable for both adults and kids making it one of the best telescopes under $500. It strikes the perfect balance between affordability and performance. It can be used for stargazing, moon watching, and viewing land-based objects such as birds and wildlife.
The user-friendly telescope is compact, fairly light, and portable. A travel bag is provided for easy portability. Other than that, the telescope is easy to install and remove. The installation process takes 10-15 minutes regardless of the user’s experience. You can also connect it with your smartphone or camera and use it for astrophotography.
The telescope comes with two replaceable eyepieces, 5×24 finder scope, and one 3x Barlow lens. The fully-coated optics glass lens enhances light transmission for bright, clear, and sharp image views. This makes it the ideal telescope for astronomers looking to explore stars and the moon.
With the adjustable tripod, you can easily adjust the height depending on your size. Better yet, you can move the telescope to different viewing angles. After use, the tripod folds into a compact size for easy transportation.
- Compact, light, and portable.
- Eyepiece: Low: 25mm(16X), High:10mm(40X)
- Adjustable aluminum tripod
- Refractor telescope
- 400mm(f/5.7) Focal Length
- Altazimuth Mount
- Max Magnification: 120X
- Zenith Mirrors: 48°Erecting BAK4 prism
- 3x Barlow lens
- 5×24 finderscope
- Quick and simple setup
- 70mm aperture / Objective Lens
- Fully-coated optics glass lens
- Two replaceable eyepieces
- 400mm focal length
- Altazimuth mount
Celestron-NexStar 4SE Telescope
This is a fully computerized telescope made to provide the best stargazing experience. It features an easy-to-use system which makes it suitable for all users, regardless of their experience.
Featuring top-notch Maksutoc-Cassegrain optics, this telescope is ideal for observing both terrestrial and celestial objects. You can also use it to photograph different objects in space and on earth. With the revolutionary SkyAlign procedure, the telescope sets up quickly so you are ready to observe within the shortest time possible.
The telescope combines high-end features and quality optics to provide the best views. It has a 4-inch primary mirror that packs optimum light for bright and clear image views. Additionally, the telescope has a computerized hand control that tracks and locates 40,000+ celestial objects automatically.
The telescope comes with a sturdy computerized altazimuth mount and a strong steel tripod. The tripod has a built-in wedge which provides a stable platform for astrophotography. You can easily connect your camera with the telescope using the shutter release cable and take a number of photos of the images you are viewing.
- 4-inch Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope
- Ultra-strong steel tripod with built-in wedge
- StarBright XLT high transmission optics coating
- StarPointer finderscope
- Quick and simple tool-free setup
- Fully-automated GoTo mount
- 40,000+ celestial objects database
- 4-inch primary mirror
- f/13 focal ratio
- 1325 mm (52”) focal length
- 102 mm (4.02”) Aperture
Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope
Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope is suitable for beginners and intermediate stargazers. It comes with a 130mm parabolic primary mirror which provides bright and clear views of land-based targets and deep-sky objects.
Weighing about 27 pounds, the telescope is fairly light so you can easily take it out to your favorite stargazing location. It comes with a sturdy EQ-2 equatorial mount which easily attaches to the adjustable tripod included. You can move the tripod into different positions and track different celestial objects as they move across the sky.
The telescope offers high-quality image views. It has a large 5.1” aperture which collects ample light for bright and clear views of planets, moon, stars, and other celestial objects. It also features two 1.25-inch Sirius Plossl eyepieces and one 6×30 finder scope.
- 1-inch aperture
- 24-inch-long optical tube design
- Wide field of view
- Manual Focus
- Sturdy EQ-2 equatorial telescope
- Reflector optical design
- Best for beginners and Brighter deep sky views
- Magnification 19x -260x
- Focal ratio-f/5.0
- Eyepieces-Plossl 25.0mm,10.0mm (1.25″)
- 650mm focal length
- 130mm optical diameter
- 6×30 finderscope
- Fairly light and portable
- Sturdy and adjustable tripod mount
SOLOMARK 70EQ Refractor Telescope
This SOLOMARK Telescope is a decent quality telescope suitable for both adults and kids. It offers high magnification power and clear images at all magnification. If you travel a lot for adventures, this telescope suits you. You can use it to observe deep-sky objects, the solar system, and land-based objects such as animals, birds, mountains, and rivers. Besides, this multi-purpose telescope can be used for astrophotography.
The telescope comes with two eyepieces, PL10mm and PL20mm. The two eyepieces offer different magnifications of 35-70x which increase the distance of visible objects. The telescope is suitable for both day and night-time use. It features a large 70mm high-permeability refractor lens which makes it is suitable for bird watching and nature photography during the day and stargazing and moon watching at night.
The telescope’s setup process is quick and straightforward. It comes with an equatorial mount type for an easy no-tool setup. The mount has two slow-motion control cables for adjusting the telescope in both R.A and declination.
Overall, this is a good-quality telescope suitable for outdoor leisure, home enjoyment, and astronomy.
- Full-size stainless steel adjustable tripod
- Quick and straight-forward tool-free setup
- Equatorial mount type
- 5x Barlow lens
- RefractorOptical design
- Focal Ratio: f/10
- Phone adapter
- Focal Length: 700mm (28″)
- 70mm aperture
- Magnification: 70X and 35X
- Two 10mm and 20mm Plossl eyepieces
- 5 x24 Finderscope
- High-quality multi-coated glass optics
- Eyepiece: PLOSSL 10mm; PLOSSL 20mm
Celestron- 70mm Travel Scope
If you are in the market for the best family scope, the Celestron-70mm Travel Scope suits you. It is a multi-purpose scope suitable for astronomy, bird watching, and wildlife viewing for both adults and kids.
This is a manual alt-azimuth telescope that has a pan-handle for easy sky navigation. It mounts easily on the 1.25” steel adjustable tripod included. You can adjust its height depending on your height and to the most comfortable viewing position.
The telescope is designed to provide the best optical performance. The fully-coated, premium-quality glass optics enhance light transmission for brilliant and vivid images during the day and at night. Additionally, the refractor-style 70mm objective lens provides high image resolution and color fidelity, without adding extra weight. You also get two high-quality 20mm and 10mm eye-pieces which provide different magnification suitable for viewing targets at varying ranges.
Weighing about 3.3 pounds, the telescope is fairly light, easy to carry, and easy to use. It has a quick and simple setup process with no tools needed. After use, the riflescope and tripod pack-up into the travel backpack are included for convenient portability and easy storage.
- Premium-quality, fully-coated glass optics
- Suitable for both day and night use
- 20mm and 10mm high-quality eyepieces
- Large 70mm objective lens
- Fairly light, portable, and easy to use
- Quick and simple tool-free assembly
- 25” steel adjustable tripod
- Bonus astronomy software package
- Great telescope for beginners
- 11.7Limiting magnitude
- f/5.71 focal ratio
ECOOPRO 70mm Astronomy Refractor Telescope
This ECOOPRO 70mm Astronomy Refractor Telescope is another great telescope under $500. The telescope has a large 70mm aperture to collect ample light and a user-friendly design which makes it suitable for kids and beginners.
The telescope has two eyepieces, K10mm and K25mm. The two interchangeable eyepieces provide different magnifications from 51x to 128x. This makes it ideal for viewing objects at varying ranges. You also get a 5×24 finder scope which is ideal for finding objects faster.
This high-power telescope features all-coated glass optical components for great durability and high optical performance. The lenses have a green coating that enhances light transmission for clean, crisp, and sharp image views. The 45-degree diagonal mirror provides sharp image views and a more comfortable viewing angle.
Overall, the telescope excels at daytime bird watching, wildlife viewing, and casual nighttime stargazing and moon watching. It also comes with a sturdy adjustable tripod which allows for comfortable long-viewing sessions.
- 360mm focal length
- 70mm aperture
- Two K25mm and K10mm eyepieces
- 5×24 finderscope
- 45-degree diagonal mirror
- Simple, tool-free setup
- Fully-coated optical glass
- Adjustable aluminum tripod
- Magnification-51X to 128X
- Altazimuth Mount
Choosing the Best Telescopes under $500
Even though you are on a budget, it’s important that you get a telescope that’s well-made. Here are some of the important factors you should consider when looking for the best telescope under $500.
- Aperture Size
Aperture refers to the diameter of the telescope’s lens or mirror. Generally, the larger the diameter the better. It collects more light into the telescope for bright and clear images. The size of the aperture is measured in mm or inches, with 1-inch being equal to 25.4mm. To have the best views, look for a telescope with at least 70mm/2.8-inch aperture.
- Purpose of the Telescope
What do you plan to use the telescope for? If you plan to use the telescope to view targets live, almost every telescope works for this function. All you have to do is to ensure that it offers adequate magnification and has a large aperture of at least 70mm. If you intend to use the telescope during travel, make sure that it’s compact, fairly light, and easy to carry around.
For a live-viewing and astrophotography telescope, the telescope should have a smartphone adapter. To record videos, you’ll want a telescope that has a smartphone mount. This helps prevent the images and videos from being distorted by movement.
Before you settle on a specific telescope model, consider where you intend to use it. This can either be at home or for travel. If you are looking for a telescope for home use, you don’t have to worry so much about size or portability. However, you’ll want a unit that’s easy to set up and easy to use.
If you are looking for a telescope for traveling, you will want it to be light and easy to carry around. It should fit easily in the travel backpack or inside the car for easy transportation.
- Finder Scope
A finder scope attaches to the outside of the telescope to help you identify the objects you are looking for easily without any magnification. The finder scope helps you find where you want to be which can otherwise be hard when looking through the magnification of the telescope. Once you identify your general area, you can then look through the telescope as you search for different targets.
- Experience Level
If you are buying the first telescope, you’ll want a unit that is simple to use and easy to mount. The telescope should also have an easily adjustable mount, so you can spend more time enjoying your views rather than trying to figure out how to make the adjustments. For seasoned astronomers, you are probably looking for a better telescope with more advanced features. You can choose a high-end telescope that offers more advanced features.
Best Telescopes under $500 FAQs
- Which telescope is good for deep sky viewing?
Any reflector telescope is good for deep-sky viewing. These telescopes gather the most light which results in the production of bright and clear views. You can also get a refractor telescope with a large aperture, but you’ll have to pay more.
- Can I see Pluto with a telescope?
Yes. However, it is difficult for beginners to see Pluto. This is because Pluto is 30x further from the sun than earth. You’ll need a well-made telescope with top-notch optics and extra-large aperture to see Pluto or any other distant objects.
Finding a good quality telescope under $500 isn’t easy. It’s our hope that you have found this review helpful. The telescopes listed above are some of the best telescopes under $500 available on the market today. Get any one of them and use it for viewing land-based objects during the day and celestial objects at night.
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