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What is a Good Telescope for a Beginner?

What is a Good Telescope for a Beginner?

Stargazing and celestial observation can be a transformative experience. It’s definitely a unique blend of exploration, wonder, and education. The telescope is one of the most important things you’ll need to choose, so there’s a chance you wondered what is a good telescope for a beginner.

In this article, we’ll help you step into the universe of astronomy and guide you on how to choose a good telescope, to begin with, but also review some of the products we really feel would be ideal for beginners. With the night sky’s beauty waiting, let’s break it down!

How to Choose a Good Telescope as a Beginner?

To successfully choose a good telescope, you will need to understand a few key factors. These factors can make sure you invest your money well and get the best possible pick for your budget. Of course, your stargazing experience will also be determined by the quality of these factors, so here’s what we recommend you pay attention to.

  • Telescope type
  • Aperture size
  • Mount type
  • Ease of Use
  • Portability
  • Accessories

Telescope Types

The main and most important thing to understand is that there are 3 telescope types. Refractors, reflectors, and catadioptric or compound telescopes.

Refractors rely on the lenses to refract the light, but reflectors use mirrors to reflect light to form an image. While reflectors are much more versatile and affordable, they have higher maintenance costs in the long run. On the other hand, refractor telescopes have low maintenance costs and requirements but could be a bit pricier.

Catadioptric or compound telescopes combine lenses and mirrors. What’s great about this type is that it increases its versatility, making it a great type for planetary observing.

Aperture Size

The aperture size refers to the diameter of the lens or the mirror in a telescope. Knowing this and understanding how it affects observing is important. A larger aperture can collect more light, which is great for checking out fainter objects in more detail. 

If you’re only starting out, our recommendation is to stick with the aperture size of about 2.8 inches (70mm) for refractor-type telescopes. However, if you prefer reflector-type telescopes, our recommendation is to start with 5 inches (130mm).

Mount Type

The two most common and standard mount types are altazimuth known as Alt-Az and equatorial, known as EQ. As a beginner, you might not know the importance of a mount type, but it’s safe to say that mount type is as important as the telescope as it helps provide stabilization. The better the mount type is, the more accurate and smoother your observation of objects in the sky can be.

We highly recommend choosing the altazimuth mount type if you’re a beginner. It’s very simple to use and it makes it easy to move up and down the altitude and left or right on the azimuth. The second choice you have is the equatorial mount type, which is a lot more complex.

Equatorial is aligned with the Earth’s axis and it provides easier tracking of celestial objects. It’s the best type for astrophotography or long observations, but it’s something you should work your way up to, so it’s not highly recommended for beginners.

Ease of Use, Portability, and Accessories

As a beginner, we highly recommend looking into the ease of use. You want a telescope that’s easy to set up, easy to use, and even transport if that’s essential for you. Since you’re only getting started, we believe that bulky and complex equipment can deter your experience.

However, it’s always a good idea to consider how much time and effort you’ll put into setting up your telescope, observation, and whether or not will you travel.

When it comes down to accessories, you’ll come across a variety which includes things such as eyepieces, finderscopes, or even software and apps to learn the night sky. We’re a big fan of apps that can help you get started and improve your overall viewing experience.

We know that this might be too much information to remember at once. Take your time soaking it in while you check out our picks for the best telescopes for beginners down below.

Best Telescopes for a Beginner

Telescopes can seem like very complicated tools, but they’re really not when you understand what to look for and how they work. Now that you know the basics, here are a few telescopes for you to check out. The good thing about these telescopes is that they’re all beginner-friendly, so if one catches your eye, you won’t be disappointed!

Explore Scientific ED102-FCD100 Series

Explore Scientific ED102-FCD100 Series Air-Spaced Triplet Telescope in Carbon Fiber unmounted slightly facing left.

Explore Scientific ED102 is beginner-friendly with a carbon fiber construction that’s not there just for looks. Lightweight and durable, this telescope is also super portable with high attention to detail in all aspects of the build quality.

If you’re a beginner who wants to transport a telescope to the darker skies outside of cities, this might be the right fit for your needs.

FCD100 series is designed with an air-spaced triplet design that makes this telescope shine with clarity and the sharpness of the images it produces. When observing the planetary details, correction and contrast are very impressive. Even the lack of chromatic aberration makes viewing experiences much more enjoyable to some other telescopes we’ve tried within a similar price range.

What’s also great about the ED102-FCD100 telescope is that it’s pretty straightforward so we believe beginners won’t have any issues setting it up. Once you set it up, you’ll enjoy how smooth the focuser is, making precise adjustments a breeze. With such precision that’s much needed for astrography, the color fidelity of this telescope is also something that helped us appreciate the night sky even more.

This telescope is definitely an investment, but it’s got a great balance between performance and portability, making it ideal for both visual observations and astrophotography. It’s a telescope that exceeded our expectations and there’s no doubt it’s a telescope that’ll be a starting point for a beginner.

Vixen Fluorit FL55SS

Vixen Fluorit FL55SS Refractor Telescope slightly facing left.

There are 3 things that make this telescope incredible, and it’s the craftsmanship (combined with improved portability), optical excellence, and user experience. Vixen Fluorit FL55SS is a refractor telescope that’s very compact in size, which makes it an ideal choice for everyone who wants to be on the move to experience the significance and depth of the night sky from various locations.

With the compact size, Vixen Fluorit FL55SS also provides excellent build quality. Even though it’s a lightweight telescope, it’s much more known for its outstanding optical properties. As a result, you’ll experience superior image quality with attention to detail.

With the Fluorit objective lens, you’ll experience crisp, stunning, and vibrant images of celestial bodies. We really like the color correction as it can basically eliminate chromatic aberration. As a result, you can reveal details in planets and deep-sky objects, which is something you might not be able to do so easily with just any telescope.

Even though Vixen Fluorit FL55SS is not one of the cheapest picks for beginners, it’s a pick worth making if you want to head straight to impressive planetary observations full of rich detail and contrast, thanks to its performance.

One of the reasons we chose Fluorit FL55SS as a choice for beginners is due to its user-friendly design combined with sophisticated optical performance. Tracking objects and aligning them with objects is very simple, which results in much more enjoyable stargazing sessions.

Sky Watcher 80ED App Refractor

EvoStar 80ED Apo Refractor and its accessories.

If you’re an amateur astronomer who has a growing interest in celestial observation and astrophotography, Sky Watcher 80ED apochromatic refractor telescope will put you on the phenomenal path of incredible first impressions, as well as optical performance that will keep you amazed during every use.

Sky Watcher 80ED has a very solid design quality and we were pleasantly surprised by how lightweight this telescope is. It’s yet another telescope on our list that is ideal for beginners, but also perfect for mobile stargazing.

With great first impressions, the Sky Watcher 80ED telescope didn’t disappoint with its optical performance. That’s where this telescope truly shines thanks to its apochromatic ED glass. This glass reduces chromatic aberration and has the ability to deliver crisp, vibrant, and clear images.

Even upon the observations of moon craters, we were amazed by the level of detail and, as well as color fidelity and contrast. Even though we’ve tested much more expensive telescopes, this one made us very eager for another session.

When it comes down to ease of use, the 80ED telescope is very user-friendly, ensuring that even a beginner can assemble it in no time. We found the foucser to be smooth and precise so capturing beauty in the sky at any location of your choice isn’t going to be a hassle, yet something you’ll look forward to.

National Geographic CF700SM

National Geographic CF700SM 70mm Refractor Telescope slightly facing right and pointed up.

Upon checking out the National Geographic CF700SM telescope, we noticed this is a great telescope for beginners due to its combination of observational capabilities and educational content.

Even the build quality is user-friendly, making it suitable for beginners and young astronomers. The construction feels sturdy, the design is elegant, and it’s a telescope that can withstand occasional transporting and even weather conditions with ease.

With a 700mm focal length, your first looks and glances at the moon’s craters will be delightful, and you won’t be disappointed by Saturn’s rings, and Jupiter’s moons. These are the most standard views you’ll want to see, and while they’re nothing too advanced, you’ll be surprised by the brightness and clarity of the images. We believe that although this telescope is ideal for beginners, its build quality is more than satisfactory for its purpose.

One of the strongest points of the National Geographic CF700SM is the ease of use. It’s very user-friendly, which is ideal for beginners, and it’s good to know that setting up this telescope is a breeze. With an intuitive process, the newcomers will enjoy the altazimuth mount that facilitates smooth tracking, with just a tiny bit of manual adjustments.

With such great optical capabilities, user-friendly design, and sturdy yet elegant design and build quality, it represents an ideal pick for beginners that’s very well worth the price tag. And our opinion is that it’s a strong pick for a foundation upon which you can build your experience.

Explore Scientific 80mm Go-To Tracker Combo

Explore FirstLight 80mm Refractor Telescope with EQ3 Mount.

If you’re just stepping into the world of amateur astronomy, this go-to tracker combo can transform your stargazing experience without breaking the bank. However, it’s a telescope that’ll set a huge difference between cheap alternatives, thanks to its quality design and optical performance.

Not only is the Explore Scientific aperture telescope beginner-friendly, but it’s also powerful and convenient for exploration of the night sky, especially if you haven’t done it before.

The design is robust, the build quality is sturdy, and yet the telescope is lightweight. It even features a bit of carbon body, ensuring sophisticated and reduced weight, which improves portability, yet sturdiness at the celestial observation spots.

With an 80mm aperture, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of the planets and the moon’s surface. We were even able to see some brighter deep-sky objects, so you’ll always have something interesting to see as long as you work on building and improving your skills.

The details are clear and bright and the overall images are wonderful. The biggest game-changer (especially for beginners) is the Go-To tracker. This helps you automatically navigate the night sky so you won’t have a hard time finding celestial objects. Regardless, you’ll still gain from the incredible precision of the tracker.

With such tracking capability, this is one of the most user-friendly telescopes on the market. You can literally observe celestial bodies at the push of a button. However, the initial setup is super important and it might take you a while to get it right. But once you do, you can maximize your viewing time every other time.


Finding a good telescope as a beginner isn’t difficult when you know what to look out for. A telescope is one thing in between you and the exciting venture that opens up the vast mysteries of our universe.

Whether you decide to look further and choose a telescope on your own or choose one of the telescopes we had a chance to review, you won’t make a mistake. The only thing we highly recommend is to rather save money for a quality telescope than try to go the cheaper route.

While a quality telescope might be slightly pricier than some more affordable models out there, the difference between the two is night and day. 

What would you like to use your telescope for and did you find the one that you like?
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