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What to Look for When Buying a Telescope: Everything You Need to Know

What to Look for When Buying a Telescope: Everything You Need to Know

A quality telescope is a gateway to a stargazing journey full of adventure filled with incredible discovery. But did you ever wonder what to look for when buying a telescope and how do you find a quality one?

Finding the right telescope for your needs is going to improve your celestial exploration. With the market full of various telescopes, we’ll help you understand what is important to look out for, but also how you can find a quality telescope yourself that won’t break the bank.

Understanding Your Needs

Even before you start browsing telescopes, there are a few things you can consider to make your choice easier. We recommend considering factors that affect your needs, which include:

  • Your level of experience
  • Your astronomical aspirations
  • Available budget

By reflecting on your needs, you’ll align your needs with a telesope that offers exactly what you require. Whether you’re a beginner who wants to take the first steps to cosmos, a seasoned astronomer who wants to upgrade the equipment, or a professional astrophotographer, understanding your skill level can help you narrow down the choice.

Once you understand your level of experience, it’s best to combine this with astronomical aspirations. What are you primarily interested in viewing? Are you a fan of astrophotography and is it something you’d like to get into? Your preferences and specific needs can help dictate the type of a telescope that will suit your needs. Knowing your preferences and needs can help you decide between a refractor, light-gatherer, or a compound type of a telescope.

Lastly, it’s important to consider your budget as telescopes can range from a wide range of prices. Beginner models are affordable, mid-range models are quite accessible, but high-end grade telescopes can cost thousands of dollars. We highly recommend finding a telescope that offers the most value for the price it costs, and that’s what we’ll help you do in this post.

Types of Telescopes

Telescope types

When you consider your preferences and needs, it’s important to know types of telescoeps and its differences before browsing the store.

Telescopes come in different shapes, sizes, and designs, where each have its advantages and disadvantages. All telescopes fall under the 3 following types:

  • Refractor telescopes
  • Reflector telescopes
  • Compound telescopes

Refractor telescopes use lens to gather and focus light, which provides high-contrast and crystally clear images. This type of a telescope requires almost no maintenance, is known for its durability, and also excellent performance when observing moon, planets, and terrestrial objects.

Reflector telescopes use mirrors (instead of lenses) to collect and focus light. These often come with larger aperture sizes, but still cost less than refractor type telescopes, which makes them ideal for deep-sky observations and astrophotography.

Compound telescopes combine both lenses and mirrors (are also known hybrid telescopes) that help achieve a compact design and long focal length, to offer a great balance between aperture size, image quality, and portability. They’re very popular among astrophotographers.

Each telescope type comes with advantages and disadvantages, so understanding each type can help you decide on a telescope type that will fit your preferences and observatial needs.

What to Look for When Buying a Telescope

What to look for when buying a telescope

Now that you know your needs and understand telescope types, there are only a few more things to think of before making the purchase. These things include:

  • Aperture size
  • Telescope type
  • Mount and tripod
  • Additional accessories
  • Ease of setup and portability
  • Brand reputation

Aperture size is a diameter of the telescope’s primary lens (or mirror), which is a crucial factor that determines the light gathering ability. The larger the aperture is, the better light gathering ability a telescope has, resulting in a much better image quality. By capturing more light, telescope can provide more detailed images of objects, so we highly recommend prioritizing aperture size over magnification.

Telescope type is another important factor we already discussed, so it’s essential to choose one that has strengths that work in your favor and will be a good fit for your needs. Keep in mind that price can also determine the choice of a telescope type.

Mount and tripod are essentials besides the telescope that help provide a steady viewing and tracking capabilities. The most common mounts include alt-azimuth, equatorial, and dobsonian mount. Considering weight and size of a mount is also crucial if you want to find a portable and compact telescope.

Additional accessories include things like eyepieces, finderscopes, and filters, which enhance the viewing experience but can also expand the abilities of your telescope. A finderscope is an accessory we highly recommend getting because it can help locate celestial bodies for you, but also keep an eye on filters that can enhance contrast levels to reveal subtle details.

Ease of setup and portability will matter a lot if you’re a beginner or if you’re someone who wants to observe the wonders of the sky from various locations. Compact and lightweight telescopes are great for travel but also outdoor use and are often much easier to setup. Assembly difficulty can also allow you to have more time observing the celestial bodies without worrying about spending a lot of time on the setup.

Considering the brand and its reputation can tell you a lot more about the reliability of a telescope. Most known telescope manufacturers have a history of producing quality and well performing telescopes, but also for durability of its products. Some of the best brands in the astronomy community include Celestron, Explore Scientific, Meade, Unistellar, Vixen, Coronado, Explore One, Dwarf Lab, and others.


Finding a quality telescope will ensure you have a proper window to the wonders of the universe. Knowing what to look for in a telescope isn’t difficult and everything you must consider is listed in this article, so you can use it as your guide to find a perfect telescope for your needs.

Keep in mind that a telescope that’s good for one person might not be the best choice for your needs and skill level. To equip yourself with the right telescope that will help you gaze at distant galaxies, marvelous moon craters, and stunning images of nebulae - it’s important to consider your needs, a telescope type, and a few key factors that determine the telescope’s quality.


Are you ready to start your stargazing experience? 

Explore our selection of telescopes from trusted brands and find the perfect telescope that will help you unlock the wonders of the universe!


Additionally, you can read our other informative articles:

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