Celestron is clearly the industry leader when it comes to telescopes, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t an incredible amount of companies that have great quality products. The amount of telescopes available in the market are massive, and they all fluctuate in price. But the best of the best that are under $1,000 is a small elite list that should get a few buyers interested if they don’t yet have one. Below is the best telescopes you can buy for under $1000, with the last one acting as one of the best companions you can get for your astronomy hobby.
- NexStar 8 SE
- Brand: Celestron
- Dimensions: 42 x 23.7 x 13 inches
- Aperture modes: 203.2 mm
- Weight: 16 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- 127EQ PowerSeeker
- Brand: Celestron
- Dimensions: 33 x 17 x 11 inches
- Aperture modes: 127 mm
- Weight: 21.4 pounds
- Warranty: 2-year
- NexStar 6 SE
- Brand: Celestron
- Dimensions: 32 x 26 x 12 inches
- Aperture modes:
- Weight: 21 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- 8946 SkyQuest XT10 Classic
- Brand: Orion
- Dimensions: 52 x 25.5 x 23.7 inches
- Aperture modes: 254mm
- Weight: 53.4 pounds
- Warranty: 1-year
- 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST
- Brand: Orion
- Dimensions: 24 x 24 x 51 inches
- Aperture modes: 100-150mm
- Weight: 24.2 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
- Collapsible Dobsonian
- Brand: Sky-Watcher
- Dimensions: 38 x 27 x 19 inches
- Aperture modes: N/A
- Weight: 33 pounds
- Warranty: Manufacturers
Celestron NexStar 8 SE Telescope
Starting off the list is the Celestron NexStar 8 SE Telescope, a high priced product that offers a lot of different ways to look at the stars. Styles range from 4 inch, 5 inch, 6 inch and 8 inches for purchase. This is a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with Starbright XLT transmission coatings so professional users will know it is of the highest quality.
Locating objects in the sky is easy with the built in automatic configuration software known as StarPointer. If you’re in a rush, you can always use the quick release fork arm mount to set it up and break it down no matter where you are. When combined with the StarPointer technology SkyAlign gives you a virtual address to any known star in the galaxy by locking onto your current zip code. The information is expandable, so you’ll never have to worry about waiting for the telescope to find the star you’re most interested in. As the first product on the list of best telescopes under $1,000 it is easily one of the top 5 you can get. Customers will have a hard time deciding between this great item and the others on the list if they have money to burn.
Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker Telescope
Taking a drastic turn from the same company is one of the lowest priced telescopes on the list, although this is also just as powerful as some of the others that will be mentioned later. Styles available are 114EQ Newtonian, 127EQ Newtonian, 60EQ Refractor, 70EQ Refractor and 80EQ Refractor. With such a wide set of styles to choose from, customers can get a better idea of what suits them best for all occasions, and may even end up purchasing two of these low cost scopes.
They comes with 3x Barlow lens, of fantastic quality and with considerable magnification power due to its 1000mm focal length. Expect to see some of the prettiest stars in the sky with this due to the magnificent built quality and 127mm aperture that allows the perfect amount of light in. The German Equatorial mount was an excellent surprise, and if you add in the included aluminum tripod and accessory tray then buyers are really getting a bargain with this. Other accessories included are “The Sky”, a level 1 planetarium software that acts as a database containing thousands of objects and astronomy information. Customers shouldn’t sleep on this telescope, as it has a lot of power and is good for all levels of users.
Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope
Going up to the high price is the Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope, the 3rd Celestron product on the list and the little brother of the Celestron NexStar 8 SE Telescope. This is a formidable line, and this particular scope is great for users that don’t want to spend the extra money to get the 8 SE model. Styles available are 4 inch, 5 inch, 6 inch and 8 inches. This is the most portable model in the series and sports the same Schmidt-Cassegrain optical system that made the first so great.
Weighing in at only 30 pounds with the tripod included, this scope in any size still has more power than scopes twice its price. Buyers can expect to get 44% more light gathering than competing telescopes, and with the purchase of the optional CN-16 GPS accessory they can download GPS data from orbiting satellites for the quickest alignments possible. The hand control is flash upgradeable, so you’ll always be up to date with the included SkyAlign alignment technology. If you want a high powered computerized telescope that is portable then this will be a great buy. It fits comfortable in the top 5 and will give you years of enjoyment.
Orion 8946 SkyQuest XT10 Classic Dobsonian Telescope
Keeping it at the high price range is the Orion 8946 SkyQuest XT10 Classic Dobsonian Telescope, an interesting addition to the list and one that could be your favorite after going through the features. Using a 10 inch aperture reflector it is one of the biggest of its type at a fraction of the price. Both faraway and close up stars and planets are easy to view thanks to the powerful light gathering element of the scope.
The closest planet will look as good as the most faraway planet thanks to this feature, and will be one that user’s desire in future telescopes. Ease of use is another quality feature of this product, and with its point and view setup in full display, users of any level can enjoy the full power of this telescope without having to worry about special settings to get it right. The base is as stable as you’re going to get, and the Orion CorrecTension friction optimization system keeps everything balanced in the process. Accessories packaged are a 2 inch Crayford focuser, 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece, EZ Finder II reflex sight, collimation map, dust caps and the exclusive Starry Night software. A bargain and then some, interested buyers will end up loving this purchase.
Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope
Orion continues to impress with this medium priced equatorial reflector telescope from their SpaceProbe series. Featuring an incredible 5.1 inch aperture reflector telescope, this is one product that can grab a massive amount of light so that you can get crisp views of planets, stars and moons. It’s still portable despite its power, and features a compact 24 inch optical tube design and f/5 focal ratio so that you get both long and wide views without sacrificing either.
The durable mount and tripod uses manual slow motion tracking so you can watch celestial objects fly across the night sky. When completely assembled, it only weighs 27 pounds so that it can go with you anywhere. Accessories bundled within are 2 1.25 inch Sirius Plossl eyepieces, a 6×30 finder scope, 1.25 inch rack and pinion focuser, tripod accessory tray, collimation cap and their exclusive Starry Night astronomy software. With dimensions of 24x24x51, buyers can expect to put this up anywhere without it taking up too much room. As one of the sleeper hits on the list, this telescope is one that will be on a lot of people’s wish list.
Sky-Watcher 10″ Collapsible Dobsonian Telescope
Available in styles of 10 Collapsible Dobsonian, 12 Collapsible Dobsonian and 8 Collapsible Dobsonian, this high priced telescope is very adaptive to all levels of users. There is a lot of power in this Dobsonian-style Newtonian thanks to accessories such as the 1200mm focal length and 2 inch Crayford-style focuser with 1.25 adapter. These are all included right out of the box and streamlines the experience for the user that just wants to get set up and start viewing stars and planets. Other notable features and accessories are the 8×50 RA viewfinder which is a value on its own.
The star of the package is surprisingly the build quality, with a rocker mount with Teflon bearings and tension clutch making this the most durable telescope on the list. This is definitely one that can take a few lumps here and there and will be around for a long time. The tube is collapsible so that it can be transported and stored with ease. Weight is a hefty 33 pounds but the dimensions are only 30x27x5. Sneaking into the top 5, this is one telescope that should not be overlooked.
iOptron SmartStar-G-N114 8803B GPS Telescope
Second to last on the list is an IOptron model that may surprise a lot of people. This 114mm Newtonian reflector telescope is regarded as one of the most versatile on the list, and with a 1000mm focal length it gets a lot of attention for accuracy. With the included K9 and K25 eyepieces, users can combine the power of the Red Dot finder scope to fine tune their accuracy each and every time. The mount is a computerized Alt-Azimuth mouth and works well with the 9 speed drive speed for tracking just about anything you can find in the sky.
Sky and Telescope Magazine once listed this as one of their hot products, and it continues to impress even to this day. Interesting with this model is the GoToNova hand controller that gives users full access to a database full of over 50,000 objects and 256 user defined objects. This rivals the NexStar head to head and may be a good alternative for those that want something different. And if you factor in that this has an internal 32 Channel GPS system built into it, it is a steal at the current price. Buyers should consider this one of the best computerized telescopes they can get their hands on at the current price.
Meade Instruments Personal Solar Telescope
Last on the list is the high priced Meade Instruments Personal Solar Telescope, a specialized telescope that was made for seeing sun spots, solar phenomena, flares, fragments and prominence. It is the only telescope on the list that allows you to do this in such glaring detail, and for that reason alone makes it a special companion device for anyone that wants the best of both worlds. Solar viewing has never been this easy or safe, and buyers can expect to get used to it within the first few minutes without needing to read through a lengthy manual.
Using the 40mm diameter dedicated Ha optical system customers will have the best viewing experience available without having to spend a fortune. Weight of the product is only 6 pounds and it has portable dimensions of 11x8x20 so that you can take it anywhere you want. Some models come with a tripod while others don’t, so customers should definitely check to see which version they get before purchasing. This has been one of the most interesting Solar telescopes on the market for years, and for the price anyone that wants the best should consider adding it to their list.
Sky-Watcher ProED 100mm Doublet APO Refractor Telescope
Another notch in Sky-Watcher’s belt is the high priced Sky-Watcher ProED 100mm Doublet APO Refractor Telescope, one of the best products in their lineup. Available styles are ProED 120 APO, ProED 80 APO and ProED 100 APO. Using the 100mm APO Refractor with ED Schott glass puts this on the level of The NexStar series in terms of power.
Combining the raw power of the telescope with the Dual speed 2 inch Crayford-type focuser means that everything will be aligned quickly and cleanly. Dimensions of the product come in at 15x12x41 with a weight of 27 pounds, so it isn’t built out of the box for portability. What it lacks in portability it makes up for in raw power, and this is without a doubt one of the most powerful scopes on the list with one of the best set of lens. Accessories in the box are a tube ring attachment hardware, aluminum carrying case and a built in 1.25 adapter for the focuser. This no nonsense telescope is a prime buy for intermediate to expert users that want to get right down to business.
Vixen Optics R130Sf with Wood Tripod
This hard to find high priced telescope is loved by traditional astronomers and even hobbyists that don’t care for the computerized ones. A parabolic mirror reflector dares to challenge any on the list, even on the high end top 5 models. Focal length is 650mm with a resolving power of 1.45 arc a second, making this a truly powerful scope without any assisted technology.
Attaching the 6×30 finder and dovetail tube plate to the Porta II head takes minutes, and the directions are clear when guiding the user on how to do so. Because it sits on a wood tripod, the dampening and vibration are decreased. This makes it one of the most accurate on the list when aligning, and its medium size is perfect for anyone that wants the best of both worlds. Some of the more advanced features is the slow motion control. Weight of the scope is 19 pounds with dimensions of 41x13x11, so expect to be able to take it anywhere without it wearing on your shoulder. A good choice for users of all levels, this is one telescope that is worth the money and then some.
Orion 8974 SkyQuest XT8 PLUS Dobsonian Reflector Telescope
Third up is this medium priced scope that is an actual deluxe upgrade of the long running XT8 Classic Dobsonian. Not only is it an upgrade, but it improves on some of the better features of the previous scope while including some great accessories to entice the deal. The base has been redesigned and includes easy to access adjustable tension knobs, while one of the prettiest metallic blue finishes on the list will keep people in awe of your telescope. Without the use of tools you can adjust the secondary mirror, which cut down on the amount of things you need to bring with your telescope bag.
The sharpest views possible are due to the 2 inch dual-speed Crayford focuser with 11:1 fine-focus, a clear improvement over the previous model. But the fun thing about this scope is the long accessory list which is made up of a 1.25 inch 10mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece, Safety Film Solar Filter, Shorty 2x Barlow, eyepiece rack, EZ Finder II reflex sight and collimation cap. There is a lot to love about this scope, and Orion is a great choice for anyone that wants to make a purchase.
Regular Telescope or Solar Telescope
This confuses a lot of beginners when they need to make their first purchase, even though it is a simple explanation. Solar telescopes are specialized models that are meant for complete Solar viewing, a feature that is not present even with the most expensive telescope on the list. But Solar telescopes are horrible at viewing planets, stars and other phenomena that you would see using a regular telescope. This is the reason a lot of experienced users purchase a Solar telescope as a companion piece to their more powerful regular telescope. It is an optional practice, but one that will fill the gap of things you can’t view while using a regular telescope.
The telescopes on this list are some of the best you can get for under a grand, so choose carefully. More will continue to come out every so often, but this list is as good as gold for the current flagship of in demand models. Enjoy looking at the stars with superior equipment at a fair price.