Astronomers know first hand that nothing can truly compare to the fascination of observing the skies. Being able to see the stars, planets, and galaxies up close will take your breath away, and make you appreciate the universe from a different perspective.
But if you plan on discovering the night skies in a unique way, you will need a reliable telescope to help you out. Many beginners will want a budget telescope that can help them get experience without making a huge financial investment first.
For this, we have rounded up a guide to help you find the best telescope under 200 dollars. Take a look at our top 10 recommendations of the best telescope under 200 below, and see which instrument best fits your needs.
Best Telescope Under 200 Dollars – Our Top 10 Picks
10. OKCSC Portable HD 30X52 Telescope with Dual Focus Zoom
The OKCSC Portable HD 30X52 Telescope with Dual Focus Zoom takes the gold medal as the #1 best-selling telescope on Amazon. It very well might be the best telescope for under 100 dollars that you can buy.
It might not have the greatest rating among users (an average of 3.5 out of 5 stars). However, as an incredibly cheap telescope, we say it is worth the money. It is maybe the best cheap telescope you can find.
A slight downside to this entry-level telescope is that the manufacturers advertise its magnification as 30x, while several users claim that it barely exceeds 16x (or even 10x). However, the main advantage is that customer support services are wonderful.
The product is also very lightweight (350 grams) and easy to carry when traveling. Its measurements are 160 x 52 x 40 mm, the diameter of the objective lens is 52mm, the diameter of the eye lens is 19mm and the field of view is 100M / 8000M.
For daytime use, the OKCSC Portable HD 30X52 Telescope with Dual Focus Zoom is a fine choice as an under $ 200 telescope.
9. Orion 10012 SkyScanner 100mm TableTop Reflector Telescope
Our Telescope Reviewer readers already know that we gave this model a 5-star rating in our personal review here. We also consider the Orion 10012 SkyScanner 100mm TableTop Reflector Telescope a best telescope under 200 dollars.
The Orion 10012 SkyScanner 100mm TableTop Reflector Telescope has basically all of the features you could ever want for a good cheap telescope: quality mirror optics (100mm parabolic), two reliable eyepieces (10mm for 40 power magnification and 20mm for 20 power magnification), a useful aiming device called the EZ Finder II, an owner’s manual that you can actually understand, and great collimation upon receiving the product.
This is also an exceptional purchase for customers who want to travel to remote places to observe the sky; you can have it packed up and ready in no time. In ten minutes at the most, you will have your telescope set up. You can also consider it as an affordable telescope for your children.
8. Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope
Speaking of traveling and observing, the Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope is exactly what you need if you are on the go. We can openly state that it is the best telescope under 100 dollars.
This Celestron model comes with an awesome case that doubles as a backpack. Thus, you can store your telescope safely when traveling to the places you want to observe from.
In a review dedicated to the Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope, we highlight the fact that this model is one of the best affordable telescopes. It is also a great scope for beginners who want to learn more about the art of observing.
This model is only a bit over 3 pounds, and it measures 18 x 7 x 14 inches. Its positive feedback from customers is confirmed by the fact that it is the #1 best-selling refractor telescope on Amazon.
The only apparent downside is that this Celestron model has a plastic focuser and finder. The good news is that the product is lightweight. We personally give this travel scope a 5-star rating for its many delightful features and amazing price.
7. Meade Instruments 209001 Infinity 50 AZ Refractor Telescope
The Meade Instruments 209001 Infinity 50 AZ Refractor Telescope is one of the best telescopes under 100 dollars. In our individual review, we explain why this model is superb for beginners.
A nice advantage is that the product comes with three eyepieces (4mm, 12mm, and 20mm). As the piece is a refracting telescope, no collimation (mirror alignment) is required when you receive your product. You just set it up and begin observing.
It is still lightweight at just 5.6 pounds, and it is 39 inches long, 39 inches wide and 52 inches tall. One of the disadvantages of this model is that the colors might not be top-notch.
However, this is a frequent problem with refractor telescopes. To put it in a nutshell, you really cannot find an inexpensive telescope like this one for the value it offers.
6. Orion 09843 SpaceProbe 3 Equatorial Reflector Telescope
If a quality, inexpensive reflector telescope is what you are looking for, you should really check out the Orion 09843 SpaceProbe 3 Equatorial Reflector Telescope. We consider it to be the best telescope under 200 dollars.
More than 50% of customers awarded it with five stars on Amazon, as it presents a nice set of features for this budget. It is the 13th best-selling reflector telescope on this platform, so you can tell by customer satisfaction that this is one of the best telescopes under 200.
This is a great cheap reflector for beginners, thanks to the lack of complex pieces and its easy to use an equatorial mount.
The SpaceProbe 3 has a 700mm focal length, 3-inch aperture. It includes a collimation cap, focuser, and finder scope, as well as specific astronomy software. The SpaceProbe 3 comes with one 25mm Explorer II 1.25 inch eyepiece (for observing with 28x magnification) and one 10mm focal length Explorer II 1.25 inch eyepiece for 70x magnification.
This product is 27 inches long, 12 inches wide and 44 inches tall. At 16.6 pounds, it is slightly heavier than a few other inexpensive telescopes on our list. However, it will offer an excellent observing experience for new astronomers.
We would recommend it as one of the top-heavy telescopes for under 200 dollars. However, if you are on an even tighter budget, you can check out the Orion 11043 Space Probe.
5. Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker Telescope
We explained why we like this PowerSeeker model in our dedicated review. It’s only natural that this scope has a spot on our list of the best telescope under 200 choices. It is obvious that a large number of customers agree with us too, as the Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker Telescope is the #1 best-selling reflector telescope on Amazon.
We can easily classify this PowerSeeker as one of the best cheap telescopes you can buy. It has a 127mm (5 inch) aperture, a focal length of 1000 mm and a German Equatorial mount.
If you buy this scope, you get a 3x Barlow lens, as well as two eyepieces (one 20mm with 50x magnification and one 4mm with 250x magnification). Some nice extra perks are that you do not require any tools whatsoever for assembly. You also benefit from a 2-year warranty. With the help of this best telescope under 200 dollars, you can observe galaxies like M81 or M82, Saturn, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, the Orion, and Lagoon nebulas and the Beehive cluster.
4. Meade Instruments 209002 Infinity 60 AZ Refractor Telescope
It’s impossible to not consider the Meade Instruments 209002 Infinity 60 AZ Refractor Telescope one of the best cheap scopes on the market. It is a lovely choice for individuals who are just getting started with astronomy, and it presents amazing value for its low price.
It genuinely is one of the good cheap telescopes, with two useful eyepieces and a 2x Barlow lens to enhance the power of each one. You can use the 26mm eyepiece for low magnification and the 6.3mm eyepiece for high magnification. Thus, you get the best of both worlds with this best inexpensive scope.
In order to help you locate objects with more ease, this scope comes with a red dot viewfinder. Some beginner customers mentioned that they experienced a bit of difficulty using the viewfinder at first. The product weighs just 6 pounds and is 39 inches long, 39 inches wide and 52 inches tall.
For detailed info on the Meade Instruments 209002 Infinity AZ Refractor Telescope, you can consult our full review here.
3. Celestron 31042 AstroMaster 114 EQ Reflector Telescope
If finding premium telescopes cheap is your mission, the Celestron 114mm Reflector Telescope is the product for you. This is our second best telescope under 200. In our separate review, we highlight both the pros and cons of the Celestron 31042 AstroMaster.
We also explain why it would be a recommended pick for beginners. On the other hand, if you are an intermediate towards advanced astronomer, you might not be 100% pleased with all of the features (like the star finder, for example).
Just as a friendly reminder, all of the telescopes we have presented in this list are indeed under $200. So keep the price in mind when judging performance.
Regarding the Celestron 114, it can be set up without any tools. It comes with clear instructions for assembly.
One of the main advantages of this telescope is that it is incredibly compact. It is easy to carry with you when traveling to remote places to observe.
Also, the two eyepieces that this Newtonian reflector comes with have 50x and 100x magnification respectively. The former has 20mm focal length and the later has 10mm focal length. The manufacturers even state that it is up to three times brighter than 60mm telescopes.
2. Meade Instruments 209005 Infinity 90 AZ Refractor Telescope
This particular Meade model is one of the most popular cheap telescopes on Amazon. With countless customer reviews that add up to 4.4-star rating, 64% of Amazon customers awarded the Meade Instruments 209005 Infinity 90 AZ Refractor Telescope with a clean, 5-star rating. This might be the best telescope under 200 because the “90 mm is the largest refractor scope in this price range”.
This Meade telescope has the second biggest aperture out of all the products in the Infinity line. One of the main differences that set this model apart from other Infinity pieces in its class is that it includes a panhandle that is connected to the mount. This makes adjusting a lot easier for the user.
Another great feature of the 209005 Infinity 90 refractor is that the image is right side up, as opposed to most telescopes that have the image upside down. In other words, you can use this scope to observe during the day. Several other nice perks are that you benefit from free shipping, an instructional DVD and astronomical software.
This Meade model is a great telescope for absolute beginners. It is easy to use, easy to set up and comes at a decent price for its features.
1. Orion 10015 StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope
Purchasing high-quality scopes cheap can sometimes be very challenging. We consider this piece the best telescope under 200, even though it is a few dollars over our budget.
So if you want an investment that will pay off through amazing results, the Orion 10015 StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope is the product to go for. Out of all the suggestions on our best telescope under 200 dollars list, the Orion 10015 StarBlast has the highest rating, with a whopping 84% of Amazon customers rating the scope with 5 stars.
For its price, it gives top-notch quality and is one of the best budget telescopes available worldwide.
Buyers also receive an EZ Finder II reflex sight (that will help you to aim easily), a collimation cap and 2 Explorer II 1.25 inch Kellner eyepieces (one 6mm and one 17mm), as well as other goodies (like an eyepiece rack and astronomy software).
If you want to offer a thoughtful present for your children or if you want to dive into the wonderful world of astronomy, the Orion 10015 StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope is a terrific way to start. If you are interested in learning more about other Orion StarBlast models, you can look through our dedicated review here.
A budget telescope is great for kids as well as for entry-level and intermediate astronomy enthusiasts. This might be the first piece you purchase, so we hope that our guide to the best telescope under 200 was helpful.
Do you know other great, inexpensive scopes that we should include in our list of the best telescopes under $200 here? Please leave your comments below! We’d love to hear from you!