Top 15 Best Telescope Under 500 Reviews In 2020 – Which One Is Right For You?

Interest in astronomy is quite interesting and also quite difficult when you are a beginner because you do not know where to start. Finding the best telescope under 500 for you is not easy when you have so many choices in the market from different styles and brands.

A budget of 500 to buy a telescope is not a bad investment, but it is quite difficult to spend it properly. If you are a beginner, this can be quite a difficult decision when there are many other very affordable options available. But if you're a discerning gamer, you'll need more than that to get yourself a more functional and modern telescope.

There are many things to remember and to note before buying a telescope under 500. This is why Agernrestaurant has created this list of our top 15 best telescope under 500. Now, let's check them out below!

** Below, you will find our detailed reviews of the best telescope under 500, but you can also click these following links to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

Top Best Telescope Under 500 Reviews 2020

Celestron Inspire 100AZ Refracting Telescope

This Celestron Inspire 100AZ Refracting Telescope is described by Celestron himself as the most feature-rich line of telescopes at the starting level. We love this telescope for its affordable price, its large focal length, and aperture, and a built-in smartphone holder that enables you to experience astrophotography with your smartphone.

Setting up this telescope is easy and quick. You'll only need a few seconds to set up all the included accessories including the telescope, accessory tray, and tripod. It has a compact size that makes it easy to carry with you wherever you go.

This product truly includes everything you need for a telescope. It has an integrated smartphone adapter, red dot finder range, LED flashlight, a diagonal image star that helps to deliver perfectly accurate images whether it's day or night, and two eyepieces.

PROS

  • Two years warranty
  • Large aperture
  • Integrated smartphone adapter
  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for beginners

CONS

  • Entry-level telescope components

Celestron NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope

Celestron NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope is a wise choice for you if you are looking for the best telescope under 500 and it is also one of our favorite products. This is a telescope that combines all the features you're looking for at an affordable price point.

This telescope makes the process of finding celestial bodies in the night sky easy thanks to computerization. Assembling and adjusting it initially will take a bit of time, but this is a product worth the effort.

This telescope comes with two eyepieces to help you get the best possible vision. It is also suitable for those who are pursuing astrophotography.

However, in our opinion, the only downside of this telescope is the Alt-az mount instead of the equatorial mount that comes with it. If you have always used an equatorial stand in the past, this may be the factor that makes you have to consider a lot in choosing this telescope.

PROS

  • Sturdy stainless steel tripod
  • Easy to transport
  • Compact
  • Light

CONS

  • The battery is not reliable
  • Weak mounts cause vibrations

Orion 27191 StarBlast 6i IntelliScope Reflector Telescope

Orion 27191 StarBlast 6i IntelliScope Reflector Telescope is a tool that uses the "PushTo" technology to find objects you want to observe with a computer to locate and navigate to that object. It comes equipped with Orion's fairly standard items like a moon map, red flashlight, 2X Barlow lens, and moon filter.

StarBlast 6i is a fairly powerful telescope with a portable package and small weight. The stand is quite stable, sturdy, and very easy to use. To set it up, you can also purchase yourself a chair or table. But overall, the telescope itself has a pretty good foundation relative to the range.

The StarBlast 6i's alt-az mount gives you stability despite the relatively inexpensive materials and designs. You will have smooth, shake-free sky observations thanks to the high magnification of this telescope.

Another great thing about this telescope is its ability to set up very simply in seconds and then it will be ready for a great experience. You can also easily carry it anywhere because its compactness can fit comfortably into the rear seat or trunk.

PROS

  • 1-year warranty
  • Compact
  • Save a lot of energy
  • Bright viewing angle

CONS

  • Need to put it on something stable

Zhumell Z8 Reflector Telescope

In the world of astronomy, the Zhumell Z8 Reflector Telescope is a fairly famous product. Many high-end astronomers can view this telescope as a simple device with ease of use. In our opinion, beginners will be the better candidate to use it.

In terms of size, though portable, this telescope is clearly large in size with 2 large packs. It can even take a few hours to set it up properly to be ready to go. Even so, it is still a reliable telescope with sturdy construction and good weight enough to stand firmly when placed on top of other high objects.

Although its focal length is quite short, its good aperture and parabolic mirrors will help provide you with enough light to clearly see objects in the sky.

PROS

  • Accessories can be purchased easily
  • Good price
  • Get plenty of apertures

CONS

  • Difficult to install for beginners
  • Too heavy to carry

Orion 8297 8-Inch f/3.9 Newtonian Reflector Telescope

The Orion 8297 8-Inch f/3.9 Newtonian Reflector Telescope stands out in its under 500 telescopes when it's solidly built with good engineering. The telescope is easy to carry thanks to its modest weight, size, and length. In addition, Orion has a great customer care team - you can easily ask them for assistance with any difficulty in assembling and using the product.

This telescope is equipped with DSLR camera handling with a powerful dual-speed focus unit. Its overall quality works very well with solid, premium accessories, and it doesn't seem like any of the details are redundant. The layout of the accessories is very nice, not sloppy, with no rough edges, and the scope is very solid.

An interesting highlight of the Orion 8297 Reflector Telescope is the battery pack for the main mirror with a cooling fan and the collimated eyepiece. You will also receive a complete and clear instruction manual included. The scope rings are accompanied by a beautiful felt liner. However, you will need to replace it when using it for a long time.

PROS

  • Portable
  • Well built
  • Compact weight and size
  • Good reflection and optics
  • Generous accessories
  • Good price

CONS

  • Need to replace the felt liner after some time using

Sky Watcher Telescope S11610

This Sky Watcher Telescope S11610 is another recommendation on our list for the best telescope under 500 category. One highlight of this telescope is its optical tube with stretch handles attached on either side, which makes it so much easier that even children can use it.

The telescope also includes many accessories such as a wide search range, focus, and eyepieces. The stand is solidly built and quite heavy. However, you may find it inconvenient to carry this telescope with you because of its bulky size. Therefore, if you want a portable telescope, you should consider when choosing to buy this product.

PROS

  • Easy to use
  • Wide search range
  • Solid stand

CONS

  • Heavy
  • Inconvenient to carry

Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope

This Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope is our top pick for the best telescope under 500. Indeed, you'd be hard-pressed to find a second choice on the market like this, which offers a lot more functionality than its price tag and very easy to use.

The Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope is equipped with the main mirror, a large aperture, and a long focal distance, which maximizes the ability to collect light for seeing distant and blurred objects. This telescope offers high magnification and excellent optical quality.

This Orion telescope uses friction pads and load springs to create stability and balance. As a result, you will easily control the direction of the telescope's line of sight at your target without worrying about it drifting or shifting.

Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope is practical and suitable for astronomers from beginners to amateurs. You can carry it with you on the go because of its compact weight and size. In addition, it can split into two pieces and comes with software astronomy, collimator cap, reflex viewfinder, eyepiece, and a focal length.

PROS

  • Great price
  • Easy to carry
  • Easy to use

CONS

  • Only include one eyepiece

Orion 09007 Equatorial Reflector Telescope

This Orion 09007 Equatorial Reflector Telescope is one of our top picks for the best telescope under 500. At this incredibly affordable price, you'll get a lot of benefits in terms of smooth visibility, the quality, and performance of this telescope

The telescope consists of a large aperture and two eyepieces that help you see a wider field of different objects and provide enough light for you to see them clearly. You can easily transport it anywhere as it is fully assembled and lightweight. To use it, simply mount the equatorial mount provided in the set with this telescope, and you're ready to see moving objects in the night sky.

In addition, it also provides setting circles to help you have a better experience of viewing celestial bodies by marking their coordinates and finding more objects in the sky. You will also get accessories including a user manual, a rack, accessory tray, and astronomy software called "Starry Night".

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Include an astronomy software called "Starry Night"
  • Easy to transport

CONS

  • Not completed user manual

Celestron PowerSeeker 60EQ Telescope

Overall, the Celestron PowerSeeker 60EQ Telescope is suitable for those who are just starting to learn astronomy or those on a low budget. The assembly process of this telescope is quite easy and it offers a pretty good visual experience of tracking celestial objects.

True to Celestron's reputation for telescopes, this telescope has an optical tube completely coated with optical lenses. This makes the image you see will be clearer and brighter.

You can also add search glasses on the optical tube to focus on the position of the celestial object you are observing. Thanks to its equatorial stand, you can track the movement of objects that you have positioned in the night sky with ease.

The telescope is designed with an exceptionally long length, making it inconvenient to put it in a backpack and move it outdoors. An aluminum tripod is also fitted to support the entire Celestron PowerSeeker 60EQ Telescope setup. There is also an accessory tray above the tripod that gives you space to conveniently store other accessories such as the eyepiece while keeping them close.

PROS

  • An ideal choice for beginners
  • Attractive price

CONS

  • The length is quite inconvenient to carry

Orion 10015 StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope

The Orion 10015 StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope is made specifically for the beginners of astrophotography at an affordable price with good optical quality and a moderate aperture. You will see clearer and brighter images of galaxies, nebulae, moons, and planets in the night sky.

In addition, you can find inside the attached box there are two eyepieces and a piece of software called Starry Night, which provides magnification and helps you to identify targets in the sky. Orion 10015 StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope gives you stability while observing the night sky thanks to a very sturdy stand. You can also perform smooth movie recording with this telescope.

However, users will have a bit of difficulty in using and assembling this telescope. But don't worry, Orion has included a detailed manual that explains how to set up the tools properly.

PROS

  • Bright, sharp viewing angle
  • Compact
  • Easy to use

CONS

  • No tripod included

Gskyer AZ Astronomical Refracting Telescope

Topping the list is a telescope from Gskyer - a brand known for its telescope products. This AZ Astronomical Refracting Telescope is one of the brand's bestsellers and the best telescope under 500 we'd recommend to you.

This Gskyer AZ Astronomical Refracting Telescope is compact, affordable, and equipped with a variety of features, perfect to take with you on the go. Its texture includes an Altazimuth mount and a wide aperture that can provide images with decent contrast.

This affordable telescope comes with accessories including a Barlow lens and three replaceable eyepieces. It makes it easy and quick to focus on and intuitive images without the need for additional tools.

The telescope also includes a stainless steel tripod, remote control, and smartphone holder for easy remote shooting and adjustment. You can get it set up easily in a short amount of time thanks to the easy-to-understand instructions included.

However, Gskyer AZ Astronomical Refracting Telescope in our opinion is only suitable for beginners as it is limited in observing the motion of objects in the sky. If you need a professional and high-end telescope, consider when choosing to buy this one.

PROS

  • Portable
  • Durable
  • Good price
  • Stainless steel tripod
  • Includes remote control and smartphone holder
  • Easy to set up and use

CONS

  • Not for professional astronomers
  • Barlow lens is made of plastic
  • Only 1-year warranty

Orion 9024 AstroView Equatorial Refractor Telescope

The Orion 9024 AstroView Equatorial Refractor Telescope is a product that benefits you in terms of a much better quality of refraction and aperture compared to the price point. This product comes with all the necessary accessories to help you see celestial bodies in the night sky including a tripod and a simple yet sturdy equator.

The eyepieces provided by the Orion brand in the set are of quite good quality. Although you may see a bit of a color aberration during observations, your vision is not affected and this is quite normal for telescopes at this price point. You can also use Barlow lenses for a clearer view of the moon's movements as it doubles the magnification of the telescope.

PROS

  • Clear planet view
  • Sturdy tripod
  • Good value

CONS

  • Color is slightly wrong in optics

Orion 10014 SkyQuest XT4.5 Telescope

The Orion 10014 SkyQuest XT4.5 Telescope is a perfect choice for you if you are new to astronomy and want a cheap start. It is easy to use and powerful enough to get you started with the exploration and observation of celestial bodies. However, like most reflecting telescopes, you will need a little time to assemble it.

If you're looking for a telescope that's not too heavy and can be moved, this Orion 10014 SkyQuest XT4.5 Telescope will make you satisfied despite its large size. This telescope stands out for the high magnification and good performance of the search glass which is firmly attached to the optical tube. Even though this telescope doesn't create an overly wide field of view, you are still able to see a fantastic view of the night sky.

PROS

  • Suitable to beginners
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Portable

CONS

  • Need some time to assemble
  • Don’t create an overly wide field of view

BARSKA Anchormaster 15-45x50 Spyscope Floor Tripod

BARSKA Anchormaster 15-45x50 Spyscope w/Mahogany Floor Tripod is a good product in terms of features and price as well as performance without major drawbacks. In terms of appearance, this refractive telescope is quite different and unique with a mahogany tripod and a completely polished brass outer shell.

The most distinctive feature of this lens is the achromatic lens which is fully coated, allowing you to see much clearer and sharper images. In addition, it also equips with different types of eyepieces and optics, which greatly help with magnification.

The Spyscope tripod is also thoughtfully cared for with its highly polished copper joints along with its ability to change length. One small limitation is that you will find it difficult to adjust this tripod. However, you don’t have to worry so much as you will get a 1-year manufacturer's warranty, as well as the adjustment, will be more stable over time.

PROS

  • Beautiful and clear image
  • The completely coated focus lens
  • Good warranty policy
  • Good magnification
  • Unique design

CONS

  • Difficult to adjust the legs of the tripod

Bresser Spica 130/650 EQ Mirror Telescope

If you are a beginner to astrophotography and want to find a good enough telescope, the Bresser Spica 130/650 EQ Mirror Telescope will be the right choice for you. It is ideal for viewing bright objects in the night sky including the moon and planets thanks to its short focal length and large aperture for excellent light capture.

You can take pictures of craters and images of the moon easily by attaching them to the eyepiece with your smartphone which already has the adapter. This telescope also provides you with a variety of accessories to assist you including an aluminum tripod, an equatorial stand, and an LED viewfinder. Thanks to this, you can see a wide field of distant and fuzzy objects in our galaxy.

PROS

  • Five-year warranty
  • Easy to assemble
  • Highly expandable
  • Portable
  • Sharp and clear image
  • High-quality design
  • Suitable for beginners

CONS

  • The tilt axis is annoying when targeting an object
  • Confusing manual

Things You Should Know To Choose The Best Telescope Under 500

Choosing the best telescope under 500 can be difficult when there are a variety of options, features, and designs to consider. Here are the basic features we reviewed to help you lessen the burden of making a buying decision.

What Functions Would You Get From A Telescope Under 500?

best telescope under 500

In this 500 price range, the telescope will include a tripod, mount, finderscope, focuser, lenses, and eyepieces. It gives you the ability to observe the details of planets including such as galaxies, nebulae, textures, and shadows of the moon, ... The number of details will change and depend on the magnification power, and the diameter size of the aperture. You can add a Barrow lens option to further enhance the magnification.

Weight

best telescope under 500

Since both celestial and planet viewing sessions take place outside under the stars, you'll want to carry with you a telescope that can be moved out and stowed inside the house afterward easily. Originally, telescopes were designed with their dimensions quite compact and lightweight. What makes it cumbersome are the extra accessories like the weight counter, tripod, and stand. Therefore, you need to consider the overall weight of your telescope.

Eyepiece

The eyepiece is what you see through when using a telescope. The eyepiece helps you position the focal point in advance and allows you to magnify your passing vision.

Current telescopes on the market include one to two eyepieces. One piece of advice for you is to always use a high-powered eyepiece when you need to focus on your subject after using a low-power eyepiece to determine the range in advance.

best telescope under 500

When calculating eyepiece magnification, simply divide the focal length of the eyepiece by the focal length. From there, the shorter the focal length, the higher the magnification. However, you should keep in mind that high magnification and good image quality are not proportional to each other. The high magnification will actually make distant objects blurry because at this point the light will be spread out thinner.

If you are a beginner to astronomy and have just owned your first telescope, a Barlow is now a great assistant for you to attach to the focal point, providing magnification of the eyepiece up to three times the capacity. You will get the flexibility of viewing multiple objects at different levels of magnification.

Mount

First, investing in a good mount will instantly increase the lifespan of your telescope. Choosing a mount will depend on factors such as intention, payload, and the mobility you desire. A sturdy, stable mount assists in tracking objects, while also reducing vibrations so you can keep objects in the line of sight and allow the telescope to move around smoothly.

best telescope under 500

There are two most common types of mounts for telescopes:

Equatorial Mounts

Equatorial mounts have a two-axis design, where one axis aligns with the sky to track objects smoothly and is therefore of great use to astrophotographers. You can locate objects that are viewable by entering the coordinates through the setting circles.

One disadvantage of this mount is the large overall weight because it is made of heavy material and the other support tools accompanying it makes it quite difficult to move. Beginning alignment is quite complex and difficult, and also frustrating and confusing for some people.

Altazimuth Mounts

Altazimuth mounts have a simple design and are easier to install and move. Its way of working is similar to that of a tripod and therefore, this is the mount best suited for beginners.

It also features a two-axis design that makes it easy to locate objects of interest with its horizontal and vertical movements. However, these motions do not help much with observing objects as they drift at an angle along the sky.

Focal Length

Actual telescopic length and focal length are two completely different concepts. The focal length will clearly affect the magnification level of the telescope. A long focal length provides a narrower field of view but has a higher magnification than a short focal length. 

best telescope under 500

Depending on the position of the observable, you should choose a telescope with a long or short focal length. If you want to observe the planets and stars near the moon, the long focal length is right for you. And vice versa, telescopes with short focal lengths are a good choice if you want to observe galaxies further away.

Aperture

Most people mistakenly believe that telescopes are mainly used for magnification. However, collecting light is what it does. Aperture is a concept that refers to a telescope's ability to collect light at a particular time. The celestial bodies usually have a certain amount of opacity when viewed through a telescope. Therefore, one of the most important factors in choosing the best telescope under 500 is its ability to lighten.

best telescope under 500

The aperture will act as the maximum limit of the magnification of your telescope. The telescope has a large aperture, the magnification is also high, then the image is also brighter.

Unlike other attachments like an eyepiece that can be added or replaced, the aperture doesn't give you a chance to change your selection. Therefore, you must make sure to choose apertures seriously. One tip in choosing a telescope is to buy the maximum aperture you can afford.

Type

You will have to make a decision about the type of telescope you will choose to buy here. On the market today there are two types of telescopes:

best telescope under 500

Reflecting Telescope

Instead of lenses, reflecting telescopes use mirrors to focus and collect light. Because light is diverted inside the tube, the reflecting telescope will be more compact and also less expensive to manufacture.

Refracting Telescope

Refracting telescopes mainly use glass lenses to focus and collect light. They are usually narrow and long because the refracting lenses and their focal distances are of the same length.

Comparison Between The Reflecting Telescope And The Refracting Telescope

best telescope under 500
Easy to use

If you focus on the ability to quickly set up a telescope in just a few minutes, you'll prefer a refracting telescope.

Optical performance

Good quality refracting material will give the clearest and sharpest images. However, if your budget is not much, then a reflecting telescope will be a more suitable choice. The reflecting telescope will not have chromatic aberration the way poor quality refracting lenses do.

Maintenance

Refracting telescopes usually do not need to be adjusted because they are equipped with fixed lenses. Meanwhile, the reflecting telescopes need to be adjusted otherwise it will be difficult to focus, and image quality is blurred.

best telescope under 500
Size

Due to the use of mirrors, the reflecting telescope will have a more compact size than a refracting telescope.

Cost

The production of mirrors will be less costly, so reflecting telescopes will tend to be cheaper than good quality refracting ones.

Frequently asked questions about telescopes

What Is The Best Telescope Brand On The Market Today?

There are indeed many brands of telescopes on the market today that are of very good quality with prices starting from a few hundred dollars. On our list of under 500 telescopes, famous brands you can safely choose from are Skywatcher, Orion, or Celestron. But best of all, you should carefully study the features as well as product reviews that we have summarized above.

best telescope under 500

Between The Refracting Telescope And The Reflecting Telescope, Which One Should I Choose?

We understand this is not an easy choice between a refracting telescope and a reflecting telescope. If you are new to astronomy, we would recommend choosing a reflecting telescope as it is more affordable and has enough power for you to get used to it. If you want to take astrophotography, a refracting telescope is definitely a smarter choice.

Which Telescope Should I Choose For Deep Space Observations?

You can use a reflecting telescope because it allows us to see the deep space and gather the most light.

Can I Observe Pluto With A Telescope?

This is quite unlikely because Pluto is 30 times more distant from the sun than Earth and, therefore, does not receive as much illumination as other planets.

Are you a beginner who is still confused about choosing the best telescope under 500? Let's spend some minutes check out this video: 

Conclusion: My Top Pick For Best Telescope Under 500

As you can see from the list above, each telescope has its pros and cons, and in the end, the choice is in which specific design you prefer the most. Every user interested in astronomy will have their own preferences and opinions, and this review is just a few of our favorites.

Choosing a telescope really depends on what you're looking for. Consider all the things you need: from specifications, focal length, or aperture. One more piece of advice from us is to always check out the features and read the specifications included with each model. This way, you will know what features your product will have and how it will work.

At this point, you already know all the details before buying the best telescope under 500. If you haven't decided which one is best for you, we recommend you to choose the best five telescope under 500 as our suggestion below:

4

Best telescope under 500 for observing planets 

With all of the information above, we believe our guide has been somewhat helpful for you. Feel free to leave a comment below. And we’ll see you very soon!

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