Best Telescopes for 2023

Whether you are looking for a gift for someone dear to you or treating yourself to some of the best telescopes on the market for observing the moon, planets or galaxies and nebulas, this is the guide for you.

Below is a table of the best telescopes recommended in every category listed!

Table of Content:

Best Children’s Telescope

saxon F767AZ Newtonian Reflector Telescope

  • saxon F767AZ Newtonian reflector telescope
  • saxon F767AZ Newtonian reflector telescope finderscope
  • saxon F767AZ Newtonian reflector telescope 3x barlow lens
  • saxon F767AZ Newtonian reflector telescope moon filter

Optical Design

Newtonian Reflector

Aperture

76mm

Focal Length

700mm

Focal Ratio

9.2

Highest Magnification

152x

Mount Type

Alt-Azimuth AZ1

Warranty

5 years

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At Optics Central

Benefits
+ Very beginner friendly
+ Affordable 
+ Full of useful accessories
+ Light weight
+ Includes erecting eyepiece for land viewing
Downsides
– Allows only simple study of the bigger planets

The saxon F767AZ Newtonian Reflector Telescope makes for a very affordable way to obtain your child’s first telescope and comes with a great 76mm aperture and 700mm focal length suitable for looking at the Moon and basic stars. It also comes with helpful accessories for them to play around with, for a more hands-on experience.

The alt-azimuth mount allows navigation of the stars to be easy for your child to do by making it easier to manoeuvre in all direction with less fuss.

The moon filter screws on the bottom of your eyepiece, and gives your view of the moon a more enhanced level of contrast. The barlow lens goes below the eyepiece, giving you a bigger picture. And finally, the erecting eyepiece flips your view up right, which allows for viewing of the land!

IN SHORT

A decent package for its price, the saxon F767AZ Newtonian Reflector Telescope stands to be a solid choice for an enjoyable and nice start to astronomy for your child or perhaps a spark of a lifelong hobby. For more information of what it is capable of, read more in this blog.

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Best Beginner Telescope

saxon Novo 909 AZ3 Refractor Telescope

  • Saxon Novo 909 AZ3 Refractor Telescope close view
  • Saxon Novo 909 AZ3 Refractor Telescope overview

Optical Design

Refractor

Aperture

90mm

Focal Length

910mm

Focal Ratio

10.1

Highest Magnification

180x

Mount Type

Alt-Azimuth 3 mount

Warranty

5 Years Limited Warranty

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At Optics Central

Benefits
+ Good viewing of moon, constellations and planets
+ Slow motion controls for fine adjustments 
+ Good land viewing
Downsides
– Not great for deep sky objects

The saxon Novo 909 AZ3 is the golden child of refractor telescopes, with the moon and land viewing as the main target out of the box.

Saxon Novo 909 AZ3 Refractor Telescope close view

If you are interested in planets, with an additional accessory like a 2x barlow lens (sold separately), you can enjoy a higher magnification for viewing Saturn and Jupiter. You can see Saturn and Jupiter straight out of the box, but the view is quite limited.

This telescope comes equipped with slow motion controls, which gives you a fine tuned experience of following objects as they move through your field of view!

However, for deep sky objects, this telescope does not have sufficient aperture and resultantly inadequate light-gathering ability, so the view of deep sky objects will be quite underwhelming.

IN SHORT

The saxon Novo 909 AZ3 Refractor Telescope will give any beginners a brilliant view for their investment. A clear view on the moon, constellations and basic planetary observation! And an added bonus of being able to view land as well!

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Best Budget Tracking Telescope

Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 127AZ Reflector Telescope

  • Celestron Starsense Explorer LT 127AZ left view
  • Celestron Starsense Explorer LT 127AZ close up view
Optical DesignNewtonian Reflector
Aperture127mm
Focal Length1000mm
Focal Ratio7.87
Highest Magnification300x
Mount TypeAlt-Azimuth StarSense Explorer
Warranty2 years

BUY NOW:

At Optics Central

Benefits
+ Easy star navigation with StarSense Explorer technology
+ Beginner friendly 
+ Compact design
+ Great brightness due to coatings
+ Able to see galaxies, planets and the moon
Downsides
– Collimation is harder than other optical design
– The mount is affected by windy conditions

Celestron StarSense 127AZ Telescope is a great beginner friendly telescope! Compact and easy to use.

Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 127AZ Reflector Telescope tracking technology

The telescope is equipped with a phone mount that you use to navigate the telescope through the stars, a particularly helpful technology for beginners who have not learned the map of the stars yet.

I would say this will help people get into the hobby by avoiding the frustration of having to learn the map of the sky.

The mount together with the short tube allow for ease of use in any environment as it is compact and takes up less foot space.

The only downside would be that the telescope is vulnerable to windy conditions as the mount will be quite light.

Celestron LT 127AZ reflector telescope full view

A focal length of over 1000mm is recommended for Saturn’s viewing. Then the Celestron StarSense 127AZ Telescope with its 1000mm focal length is just the right length for planet viewing, such as Jupiter and Saturn! With the aperture of 127mm, you will be able to pick out Saturn’s ring as well as Jupiter’s main equatorial belts

It does come with a barlow lens that you can use to double the size of the view! Perfect for viewing planets and spotting details.

One downside you can expect to find with this telescope is that it is more difficult to collimate the mirror should it ever fall out of alignment. Should you need to collimate it in the future bookmark this guide!

IN SHORT

Celestron StarSense 127AZ Telescope is an exceptional beginner friendly telescope, with technology that skip the frustration of learning the skies and skip right to enjoying the view of galaxies, nebulas and the moon. I would recommend this one for anyone looking to start out or get into astronomy as a hobby or even just having fun.

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Best Budget Planetary Visual Telescope

Saxon 8″ Dobsonian Telescope -8 inch

  • Saxon 8 Dobsonian Telescope 8 inch left view
  • Saxon 8 Dobsonian Telescope 8 inch tension handle
  • Saxon 8 Dobsonian Telescope 8 inch size comparison
Optical DesignNewtonian Reflector
Aperture203mm
Focal Length1200mm
Focal Ratio5.9
Highest Magnification406x
Mount TypeDobsonian mount
Warranty5 Years Limited Warranty

BUY NOW:

At Optics Central

Benefits
+ Excellent overall viewing capability due to its huge light-gathering power
+ Excellent for planetary viewing 
+ Great for nebula and globular clusters
+ Simple and easy to use
+ Can be upgraded with assorted 1.25″ and 2″ accessories
Downsides
– Bulky size makes it difficult to move around

The Saxon 8″ Dobsonian Telescope is a marvel in its own right, when it comes to optical performance for the value.

A massive 203mm (8 inch) aperture allows for a ton of light gathering ability, which will enable dim objects from the night sky emerge from the dark. Like all telescopes, the 8″ Dobsonian Telescope will perform better in less light polluted areas such as dark sky sites, which is where you will be able to see nebulas and globular clusters such as the Omega Centauri.

A focal length of over 1000mm is recommended for viewing Saturn. The dobsonian’s long focal length of 1200mm will set you up for a nice view of the big planets such as Jupiter and Saturn. One accessory I would recommend is getting a 2x barlow lens, which in turn makes your planetary view twice as big! 

Saxon 8 Dobsonian Telescope 8 inch tension handle

If you want to get started in astrophotography, an easy way to start is with your telescope, phone and an adapter called the saxon Scopepix Smartphone Adapter 3S! Here is a guide on how as well!

The saxon 8″ Dobsonian Telescope is very upgradable. This model uses a 2 inch focuser with a 1.25 inch adapter, which means it can be used with eyepieces or accessories of either sizes. And while the package comes with only 1.25 inch eyepieces, later down the road you can upgrade to a 2 inch eyepiece for even more brightness and resolution! 

Furthermore, should you want to have fine tune control over the telescope or for it to have a tracking function, you can upgrade it with the Skywatcher 8-inch Dobsonian GOTO kit. This add-on will enable you to do some nice astrophotography without worrying about adjusting the telescope to keep the target in view at all times.

Saxon scopepix smartphone adapter for taking pictures

IN SHORT

The Saxon 8 inch Dobsonian Telescope is an amazing device for stargazing, giving an excellently bright and crisp view of the planets, moon, deep sky objects such as nebulas and globular clusters. 

It comes as a strong starter for anyone getting into the hobby while leaving a lot of room for growth and upgrades. 

The only downside is the bulky size which makes traveling with it more difficult and troublesome if you do not plan ahead. Other than that it is well worth the investment!

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Best Smart Telescope

ZWO Seestar S50 Smart Telescope

  • ZWO Seestar S50 Smart Telescope
  • ZWO Seestar S50 Smart Telescope tripod
  • ZWO Seestar S50 Smart Telescope closed
Optical DesignRefractor
Aperture50mm
Focal Length250mm
Focal Ratio5.0
Mount TypeAlt-Azimuth mount
Warranty2 years

BUY NOW:

At Optics Central

Benefits
+ Cost-effective astrophotography
+ Good for deep sky, moon 
+ Lightweight and portable
+ Easy to use app interface
+ Much more affordable than a comparable traditional astrophotography set up
+ No prior image processing knowledge required
Downsides
– Portrait pictures (better for sharing I’d say)
– Not an equatorial mount (no long exposure)
– 10s max exposure time
– Not good for planetary imaging
– Cannot use eyepieces to perform optical upgrades with accessories unlike other telescopes

The ZWO Seestar S50 Smart Telescope is a thrilling entry level astrophotography kit for both beginners and veterans alike!

Sitting at only 2.5kg, the Seestar is extremely portable and travel friendly, small enough for carry-on baggage!

The app interface is intuitive and easy to use, with absolutely no image processing knowledge required, it will live stack images for you, producing great imagery of anything in the sky. A possible downside would be the picture being captured in portrait mode, which in my opinion just makes it better for sharing with your friends across phones.

The focal ratio of 5.0 allows the Seestar to be a great device for astro imaging and while it is great for celestial objects such as the moon, deep sky galaxies and nebulas, the focal length is too short for planetary imaging. This is understandable considering the size exchange for portability.

Seestar output Lagoon M8 nebula

The Seestar strength lies where you compare its cost with a similarly capable kit, it would cost four times as much to go with a standard kit than it is to go with the Seestar. Though I should point out that with the standard kit there are more upgrade paths, but the compactness of the Seestar will never be beaten by your traditional telescope!

There are some downsides, such as the fact that it isn’t an equatorial mount which limits your exposure shot to 10 seconds, I would say it is a healthy trade off for all the good things the Seestar has going for it.

IN SHORT

The Seestar is an excellent choice for someone who just started in the hobby and is much more convenient to travel around with than a comparable rig. Inexpensive when compared to getting a standard telescope kit. With many usage cases which are sure to please beginners and veterans alike.


For a more detailed review of the ZWO Seestar S50 Smart Telescope check out our Youtube!

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Best travel-friendly planets telescope

Saxon Astroseeker 127Mak Observatory Cassegrain Telescope -Wi-Fi Enabled with Hand Controller

  • Saxon Astroseeker 127Mak Telescope full view
  • Saxon Astroseeker 127Mak Telescope close view
Optical DesignMaksutov Cassegrain
Aperture127mm
Focal Length1500mm
Focal Ratio11.8
Highest Magnification254x
Mount TypeAlt-Azimuth AstroSeeker AZGT Computerised
Warranty5 Years Limited Warranty

BUY NOW:

At Optics Central

Benefits
+ Large aperture and focal length for amazing planetary view
+ Fully multi coated optics for great brightness and clarity 
+ GoTo technology for tracking celestial objectsand portable
+ Wifi-enable (allow for phone control) and hand controller
+ Lightweight and compact design, comes with a carry bag for the tube
Downsides
– A small learning curve for tracking
– Tripod a little shaky
– Limited manual capabilities

The Saxon Astroseeker 127Mak Telescope is one of the best planet viewing telescopes, designed with compactness and power in mind. 

A focal length of over 1000mm is recommended for Saturn’s viewing, which makes the Saxon Astroseeker 127Mak Telescope the ideal scope for such use. And once the tracking is set up to follow the planets, you can be sure that the viewing will have excellent clarity and contrast!

It comes with a carrying case for the scope which makes traveling with the telescope easy, the tube itself is one of the smallest around, measuring at just 32cm long!

The most attractive system here is the Synscan system, with 42,900 celestial objects in the database as well as having WIFI enabled. You can control where the telescope is going by connecting your phone to it using the in-built WIFI!

The tripod is not the most sturdy under windy conditions and may require some support or weights to help stabilise it.

IN SHORT

While the GoTo tracking will take a little practice, it is undoubtedly one of the more simple yet powerful travel telescopes out there in the market. The Saxon Astroseeker 127Mak Telescope is indeed the best telescope for seeing planets while still being able to comfortably travel with.

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Best GoTo / Computerised telescope

Celestron NexStar Evolution 8 EdgeHD Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope with StarSense

  • Celestron Nexstar Evolution EdgeHD 8 front view
  • Celestron Nexstar Evolution EdgeHD 8
  • Celestron Nexstar Evolution EdgeHD 8 far view
Optical DesignSchmidt Cassegrain (EdgeHD)
Aperture203.2mm
Focal Length2032mm
Focal Ratio10.0
Highest Magnification480x
Mount TypeAlt-Azimuth Nexstar Evolution Single Fork Arm Mount
Warranty2 Years

BUY NOW:

At Optics Central

Benefits
+ Excellent clarity and brightness
+ Star navigation at a press of a button 
+ The Starsense Autoalign makes set up easy and precise
+ Up to 10 hours battery time
+ Easy to use
+ In-built wifi for phone control
+ Great for serious astrophotography without a complicated setup
+ Wedge compatible
Downsides
– Pricey
– Heavy

The Celestron Nexstar Evolution 8 EdgeHD Telescope With Starsense is the ultimate stargazing kit that is bound to impress veterans and beginners alike. 

Its optical system has a generous 8-inch aperture, StarBright XLT Coatings paired with Celestron’s well-renowned EdgeHD Optics. All this will provide you with an exceptionally bright view with edge-to-edge clarity of deep sky objects, free of chromatic or spherical aberration. This is especially important when using this telescope for astrophotography!

I should also mention the telescope is able to be upgraded with a wedge (sold separately), which will enable you to do longer exposures for more detailed astrophotos.

Hyperstar

The EdgeHD optics produces a focal plane that is that is three times flatter than a standard Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, giving you a a sharp view across the whole frame. Additionally, the EdgeHD optical tube is Fastar/Hyperstar compatible, which enable for some incredibly fast wide field imaging at a focal ratio of f/2 (Hyperstar is not included*)

The battery is an in-built, rechargeable lithium-iron phosphate battery, with a run time of up to 10 hours, which negates the need for pesky long extension cords or external power supplies. Heavy users will appreciate the convenience of a rechargeable in-built battery.

Starsense Autoalign will be the tool that both beginners and veterans will appreciate as it makes calibration and setting up super easy. What it does is it takes pictures of the sky to match the stars to its database, then with minimal user input it will auto align to any target you choose. 

The in-built wifi capabilities using the SkyPortal system allows for an easy connection between your phone and the telescope, enables you to use the app to control the telescope instead, we also have a guide for that here. The app’s interface also enables you to use it as a planetarium app, which makes locating a target quick and easy.

Due to the heavy weight of the telescope, it definitely isn’t an easy task to be traveling with the Evolution 8 EdgeHD, which means you have to plan ahead if you intend on traveling with this telescope.

IN SHORT

The Celestron Nexstar Evolution 8 EdgeHD Telescope with Starsense is an impeccable stargazing kit, many of the features are there to make the experience with stargazing as seamless as possible. If quality and convenience is your main attraction, then consider this telescope!

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Best Eyepieces

With eyepieces, when you get a new one, it is best to get one that will give you an additional option of magnification rather than just replacing one you already have. Plus, you don’t want to get something that is just worse than the ones you have already so it’s important to know what you have and what you should get.


Luckily for you! I have set up a table that will help you find the right eyepiece!

How to tell which eyepieces are best:

  • Elements, higher the number of elements the better the eyepiece.
  • Coatings, Fully Multi coated, Multi coated, Fully is better eyepiece, Multi coated is better than none.
  • ED, Extra low dispersion glass, gives a sharper view, very good to have.

How telescope magnification works:

  • Telescope focal length / eyepiece focal length = magnification
  • 2x Barlow lens on the diagonal or focuser, doubles the telescope focal length
Saxon F767AZ Newtonian Reflector TelescopeThe kit itself has all the eyepieces required to use the telescope to its full extent. Should you want to upgrade regardless I’d recommend the Saxon Plossl
Saxon Novo 909 AZ3 Refractor TelescopeSince this kit comes with Saxon Super eyepieces, I would also recommend getting the Saxon Plossl, prioritise getting an Omni Barlow Lens for a more zoomed in view.
Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 127AZ Reflector TelescopeWith this kit, I’d recommend the Saxon Plossl, or even better would be the Saxon Cielo HD which is going to give you a crystal sharp view. 
If you decide to go with the Saxon Cielo HD my advice would be to also get the Omni Barlow Lens. As your view is hindered by your worst instrument! 
Saxon 8 Dobsonian Telescope -8 inchThis dobsonian kit comes with Plossl eyepieces already, hence your best options would be either Saxon Cielo HD or Celestron X-Cel LX.
Your best first option would be to get the Omni Barlow Lens for more magnification to bring out the best of the dobsonian light gathering ability.
Saxon Astroseeker 127Mak Observatory Cassegrain TelescopeThis Astroseeker kit comes with Plossl eyepieces too, which are good so I’d recommend getting the Omni Barlow Lens first for their planetary tracking capability.
Then consider Saxon Cielo HD or Celestron X-Cel LX as their visual are great as well as being more comfortable to use over a long period of time.
Celestron NexStar Evolution 8 EdgeHD Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope -with StarSenseThe EdgeHD kit comes with Plossl Eyepieces also, for something that is so optically capable, it would undermine the quality of the view. I would recommend upgrading to the Saxon Cielo HD or Celestron X-Cel LX.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for incredible widefield visuals, I recommend having a look at Celestron Luminos Eyepieces.

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How to clean your telescope

How long your telescope lasts depends on your maintenance of its cleanliness. Dirt, dust and smudges hinders your telescope from giving a good view, so keep it as clean as you can, this guide will show you how in detail. And I will summarise below for your convenience.

How to clean telescope mirrors 

Step 1: Combine lukewarm water with a tiny drop of dishwashing detergent in a bowl covered by microfibre towel

Step 2: Blow dust off the mirror and submerge the mirror then using sterile soft cotton balls, clean the mirror in a gentle manner.

Step 3: Rinse the mirror with hot water and then air dry it.

How to clean telescope lenses

Step 1: Air-blow dust particles

Step 2: Use a cleaning solution to dampen cleaning tissue and wipe down the lens, very gently. Ensure that there are no particles remaining on the lens before proceeding to do so. Any remnant debris left on the lens may scratch the lens in this step.

That is the quick rundown of how to clean your telescope, but for a more detailed guide on what to do as well as what not to do check out this guide. This saxon Optical Lens Cleaning Kit will covers pretty much all you will need to clean your telescope.

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How to use the finderscope

The finderscope attached to every telescope is there to help you track down your target before looking through the telescope, otherwise it’d be way too hard to find things! The only challenge is… to calibrate the finderscope so that it works accurately in line with what your telescope sees!

How to calibrate finderscope

Step 1: During the daytime, aim your telescope at a target, positioning a corner or sharp point in the centre of the field of view.

Step 2: Attach your finderscope and adjust the adjustment knobs on the finderscope until the view aligns perfectly with the view from the eyepiece of the telescope.

This may take some practice to get it perfectly aligned, but trust me that you will save a lot of time once you use it if you get it perfectly aligned. For more information read this guide.

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Table of best telescope 2023

Best Children’s Telescopesaxon F767AZ Newtonian Reflector Telescope
Best Beginner’s Telescopesaxon Novo 909 AZ3 Refractor Telescope
Best Budget Tracking TelescopeCelestron StarSense Explorer LT 127AZ Reflector Telescope
Best budget planetary visual telescopesaxon 8 Dobsonian Telescope -8 inch
Best Smart TelescopeZWO Seestar S50 Smart Telescope
Best Travel-Friendly Planetary Telescopesaxon Astroseeker 127Mak Observatory Cassegrain Telescope -Wi-Fi Enabled with Hand Controller
Best GoTo/computerised telescopeCelestron NexStar Evolution 8 EdgeHD Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope -with StarSense

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