If you are an astronomy enthusiast, you may often wonder how much is a good telescope? And the answer to this question depends on the type of telescope you are looking for. Don’t worry, in this guide, I’ll explain how much you’ll need to pay for each type of telescope!
The cost of a good telescope can range from under $100 to more than $1000. The more features you want in your telescope, the costlier it will be. Also at higher price, the optics quality will be much better.
You see, there are many different types of telescopes in the market currently, and each has its own unique set of features. So, you simply can’t declare one type to be better than the others.
The reason why this article was written is to give a nuanced answer to this question. We have researched so that you can see the results and make up your mind about what product to buy.
There are mainly three different types of telescopes, and if you read the entire article, then you will know about the cost of the best telescopes in each category. It is important to note that you don’t have to shell out more than $1000 to buy a good telescope.
There are budget-friendly options out there, you just have to look for them. Even if you are an amateur astronomer, this article will talk about telescope recommendations that work well for all kinds of budget.
So, sit back and read through the entire article to find the answer to your question.
What Are The Different Types Of Telescopes?
As you have read above, there are three different types of telescopes out there, namely: refractor, reflector, and catadioptric telescopes. Catadioptric telescopes are optical telescopes and the other types use refraction to view the stars.
Orion and Celestron are some of the best brands that are known to make high-quality telescopes. The price mainly depends on the aperture of a telescope, and some of these scopes can range from 75mm all the way up to 250 mm.
A telescope with a higher aperture will cost more. Many telescopes sell for less than $100, but it highly recommended that you stay away from the cheap ones as they may ruin your user experience.
A good telescope may fall in the range of $200 to over $1000, but if you are an amateur astronomer, then you can stay away from the pricier options. If you are willing to spend more than $400, then you will get telescopes with higher capabilities.
Different Price Ranges Of A Telescope And What Features To Expect From Them
Telescopes vary in types in aperture sizes. That is the main differentiator of price among the different telescope models. A refractor model will cost less than a catadioptric model. The ones having a bigger aperture will also cost more as they will all you with greater magnifying capabilities.
The table below will highlight the different price ranges of a telescope. You will also get an idea of what features you can expect to get in a particular price range.
|Types of Telescopes||Under $100||$100-$400||$400-$600||Over $600|
|Refractor Telescopes||Entry level telescopes with less than 70mm aperture and poor quality features||APO Refractor Telescopes available at this price range with 130mm + aperture||Celestron NexStar models available with galaxy viewing capabilities||At this range, you can get telescopes with 250mm aperture and the best lenses|
|Reflector Telescopes||Celestron models available with decent features but low magnification capabilities||Newtonian Telescopes available with 150 mm aperture and above||Dobsonian Telescopes available with high-quality mounts and computerized scopes||8 inch Dobsonian Telescopes with GoTo scopes that offer computerized target tracking with greater magnification capabilities|
|Catadioptric Telescopes||Not Available||Not Available||Not Available||Meade telescopes with PushTo Intelliscope offering greater stability and object tracking abilities|
How Much Is A Good Telescope?
Let us now discuss the capabilities of a good telescope. This segment will help you to budget for a telescope across different price ranges.
Under $100 range
This is where you will find most of the cheap telescopes with small apertures. Most of the telescopes in this price range are less than 75mm, so you can’t use it to see anything beyond our solar system.
$100 to $400
This is where you start to see telescopes with decent capabilities. You can buy a good refractor telescope, which gathers light at the front of the telescope where a lens is positioned. These products are simple to maintain and are rugged, so they can be easily carried from place to place.
Reflector telescopes are known as Newtonian telescopes, and they have a mirror on the back part of the telescope that gathers light. They require maintenance from time to time and it is a simple procedure that you can perform at home.
Reflectors or Newtonians come with higher apertures with greater magnification capabilities, enabling you to zoom further into the night sky. The Orion SkyScanner 100 is a good option in this price range. Telescopes in this price range come with a tripod and a red dot finder that helps you to aim in the night sky.
Once you go to the $300 to $400 range, you will get better eyepieces along with higher apertures. The 150mm Dobsonian telescope is a great product in this budget, and they provide great value for amateur astronomers. Dobsonian telescopes are very simple to use, and if you place them in a cart, they can be easily moved around.
If you plan to spend more money, you can get computerized scopes that typically take 5 minutes to set up. Manual scopes require you to find the target object by yourself which can be hard to do for an amateur.
If you live in a city where there is a lot of light pollution, then you need a computerized scope as that will help you to find more planets.
Telescopes with higher apertures will allow you to watch planets with greater detail. You can also watch distant galaxies and nebula with telescopes in this price range. Celestron Omni XLT 102mm AltAz Refractor is another great product that falls in this range.
$400 to $600
At this range, you will find more computerized scopes with 130mm aperture. The optical telescopes from Celestron and Meade are some of the best in this range, and they can do the same job as the manual scopes with higher apertures, albeit with a much more seamless targeting experience.
These telescopes also come with better mounts and lenses. The Celestron NexStar 102 SLT GoTo Refractor will offer you a stable scope and a great user experience in this price range.
This is where you can get telescopes with the highest capabilities. Dobsonian telescopes can be found in this price range, and one of their models comes with a PushTo Intelliscope which is another item that will help you find targets in the night sky, albeit with no motors.
The only difference from these scopes with the computerized ones is that they don’t have any motors while the computerized GoTo scopes are operated with the help of motors.
The good thing about PushTo scopes is that they are cheaper as they don’t require motors to operate, and many people prefer this over computerized scopes as it enables them to get larger apertures.
If you want a telescope with a long focal length, then buy the 6-inch or 8-inch Celestron NexStar telescopes. These telescopes feature very lightweight construction and compact design, which many people love. They also come with a very capable GoTo scope, thus they are some of the most popular choices in this budget range.
Once you get to the $600 plus range, you have the flexibility to buy better scopes and lenses with higher apertures as you won’t be facing any budgetary constraints. This is where you can get Catadioptric telescopes that are the most expensive types of telescopes due to their superior features.
Where Can I Buy Telescopes?
Although online shopping may seem alluring to most people, it is recommended that you visit a local store to get a hands-on feel of your telescope. If you are looking to buy your first telescope, visiting a local store that will help you decide on the best brand that fits your budget and requirements.
Many camera shops also sell telescopes, so you can visit them to check out telescopes. The hands-on feel of a new telescope can give you a taste of what to expect and the features you will get in a particular price range, especially if you are a first-time telescope buyer.
If you want to buy your telescope from an online store, then the number 1 recommended site is Amazon, as it the largest e-commerce store in the world, and carries thousands of different brands.
You can also check out various user reviews of a given product to make up your mind. www.telescope.com is another website where you can find all things related to telescopes.
I hope I have successfully given you an idea about the cost of a good telescope in this article. There are plenty of brands, some cheap and others being very expensive.
Telescopes are marketed with a wide range of capabilities, but most of these are not important for you if you are looking to buy your first telescope. If you want to view a particular planet, then you can get in touch with the people running the stores and they will be able to help you out.
If you are an amateur astronomer, it is important that you find the middle ground as chances are that you don’t have a large sum of money to spend on your hobby. Once you get a taste of your first telescope, then you can buy a better quality telescope with a larger budget.
Telescopes can be upgraded, and if you feel like you are missing out on something, then you should consider upgrading the lenses or the scopes to get a better user experience.