There’s nothing quite like the feeling of receiving and unboxing a brand new telescope. Whether it’s your first one, or an upgrade, it’s great to get a piece of equipment that will help reveal the deeper wonders of the night sky. But unfortunately – especially with lower-cost telescopes – most telescopes come with just one or two mediocre eyepieces that limit the true power of your scope. That’s where upgrading to one of the best telescope eyepieces out there can help; you’ll see more, and you can actually save money overall by not needing to upgrade your whole telescope.
In this post, I’m breaking down what to look for in telescope eyepieces and the best telescope eyepieces and multi-eyepiece kits. The products recommended below are among the best in the market, and range from affordable to splurge-worthy.
No matter what stage of astronomy enthusiasm you’re in, a good telescope eyepiece is critical to a great night of stargazing. Read on and you’ll know everything necessary to make an informed decision and see solar system and deep space objects further, clearer, and brighter than before.
What to Look for in a Great Telescope Eyepiece
You might have heard (or maybe experienced it yourself) stories of people looking through less powerful telescopes and finding that these deliver jaw-dropping views of the night sky. This happens due to one little component: a better eyepiece. When stargazing, there are lots of factors that affect your experience; the eyepiece is a key one because it defines the magnification power and field of view of that telescope.
However, finding the right eyepiece is no piece of cake. Below, you’ll find a quick guide with the most important factors you have to take into account when buying your next eyepiece.
1. Types of telescope eyepieces
Below you will find the various eyepieces found in the market. We’ve added a small description of each one for you to know them better.
- Plossl – This is the first type of eyepieces newbies get in contact with. They’ll most likely come free with your telescope.
- Kellner (achromatic) – these eyepieces are very similar to Plossls.
- Orthoscopic – These are popular for their superior image quality even on edges and large eye relief. Sadly, these eyepieces feature the smallest apparent field of view, so you are not getting much of the surrounding area.
- Aspherical – This type of eyepiece is the best buy: they are cheap and have good image quality with a decent apparent field of view.
- Ethos, Nagler, Delos – These eyepieces are as good as it gets. Their higher design, image quality, and large apparent field of view make them extremely superior to the low-end pieces. Being 10 to 15 time more expensive than low-end eyepieces, the price is steep to say the least.
- Zoom eyepieces – Not the best eyepieces on the market. They tend to have an apparent narrow field of view and when you change their focal length (magnification), you must refocus the image.
- Planetary eyepieces – These eyepieces are low on light. It means you can observe only the brightest objects like the planets, the Moon, and double stars.
The second thing to look at in the quest for the best telescope eyepieces is the diameter. To make things simple, diameter refers to the physical size of the eyepiece barrel (the silver part that inserts into the eyepiece holder). Today, there are 3 standard sizes of eyepieces in use for amateur telescopes: .965”, 1.25”, and 2″. The 1.25″ is the most common size of the three used in amateur telescopes. While the 2″ is also common, this size is generally found on larger, more advanced telescopes. As for the .965″ size, this is an older obsolete size, but can still be found on some entry-level telescopes. To know which eyepieces you can use, take a look in your manual or user’s guide.
3. Eye Relief & Exit Pupil
You certainly have seen these words in most telescopes’ descriptions. Both eye relief and exit pupil are related to the comfort and head position you’ll hold while stargazing. The eye relief is the maximum distance you can place your eye from the eyepiece lenses while focusing on the full field of view.
The exit pupil is the diameter of the beam of light that projects from the eyepiece into the entrance pupil of your eye. This is important when you observe the faintest deep-sky objects since you need all the gathered light to be projected onto your retina through your widely dilated pupils.
4. Apparent Field of View and True Field of View
In stargazing, the apparent field of view refers to the width of the sky presented to your eye. In other words, it refers to the portion (how much) of the sky you’ll be able to see: the larger the number, the larger part of the sky you can see. You can find eyepieces with apparent fields of view ranging from around 30 degrees (quite narrow) to over 80 degrees (extremely wide), with the most common one ranging from 40 to 50 degrees. The true field of view refers to the amount of sky you can really see through an eyepiece once it’s been attached to the telescope. It’s calculated by dividing the Apparent Field of View (AFOV) by your telescope’s magnification.
5. Focal length
Knowing the focal length of a telescope is crucial because it is directly related to the magnifying power of a telescope.
The focal length is essentially the distance (in millimeters) that light travels inside the telescope from its entry point (the aperture) to the exit point (the focuser where you place your eyepiece.) You can find the focal length of your telescope on a label usually placed on the tube. Once you know the focal length, you can calculate the telescope’s magnification using this formula: focal length telescope / focal length eyepiece.
From budget-friendly to skyrocketing prices, telescopes can be found in all price ranges. We’ve divided telescopes into three categories: under $100, between $100 and $250, and over $250.
Low-cost or budget eyepieces typically range under $100. Still, thanks to modern design and manufacturing methods there are some very good choices in this range.
Eyepieces between $100 and $250 come closer to high-end brands. They usually have more features, a better build, and are a bit more polished.
Finally, the eyepieces over $250 are the best of the best, regarding optics and quality. Once you go over this price range, eyepieces can cost as much as $1000 each.
Extra tip: Your eyepieces do not need to be the same brand as your telescope. There is no problem using a Tele Vue eyepiece in a Celestron telescope, for example.
The Best Telescope Eyepieces & Multi-Eyepiece Kits
1. Celestron Eyepiece and Filter Accessory Kit
If you’re looking to increase the versatility and performance of your telescope, the Celestron Accessory Kit is one of the best telescope eyepiece kits. This kit includes five eyepieces, ranging from low to high power: 32mm, 17mm, 13mm, 8mm, and 6mm. Each eyepiece has superior quality with a 52-degree field of view. They are multi-coated to render better viewing edge, sharpness, resolution, and color.
The kit also includes a 2x Barlow lens. You can pair it with any of the eyepieces to enhance the night sky view. Finally, the kit encloses six colored planetary filters, perfect for bringing out various details on a planet’s surface or in its cloud structure, and a moon filter that blocks some of the Moon’s bright glare, allowing you to see more detail.
2. Celestron 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece for Telescope
For the money, the Celestron 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece is one of the best telescope eyepieces and one of the most affordable in the market. Characterized for its practicality; you can zoom to any focal length between 8 mm and 24 mm in an instant without changing lenses.
You can pair the zoom lens with any telescope that accepts 1.25” eyepieces. Featuring folding eyecups and huge eye relief, the Celestron zoom lens is also a good option for glasses wearers.
Besides stargazing, this zoom lens is well suited for terrestrial observation as well thanks to its field of view (40 – 60 degrees).
3. Explore Scientific 68° 40mm Eyepiece
Built using advanced computer design, combinations of low dispersion and high refractive index optical glasses, the Explore Scientific 68° 40mm Eyepiece is an unbeatable eyepiece.
This telescope eyepiece features multi-coated optics to deliver clear and sharp images with maximum contrast. Given the edge of the lens is darkened and flat, stargazers don’t have to worry about internal obstruction from scatterer lights.
Finally, thanks to their long eye-relief and 68-degree apparent field, the Explore Scientific 68° 40mm Eyepiece offers an immersive stargazing experience.
4. Explore Scientific 82° 11mm Waterproof Telescope Eyepiece
Similar to the one above, the Explore Scientific 82° 11mm Waterproof Telescope Eyepiece features multi-coated optics, a textured grip to reduce chances of dropping, and high-quality components. All internal surfaces of the eyepiece barrel as well as the edges of the lenses are flat black to minimize the scattering of light within the lenses themselves.
But the highlight of this eyepiece is its visual effect thanks to the outstanding field of view and long eye relief. Extending up to 82°, Explore Scientific 82° 11mm Eyepiece shows will bring celestial bodies in such detail that it will blow off your socks.
5. Gosky Premium Telescope Accessory Kit
Gosky offers another of the best telescope eyepiece kits. This fifteen-piece 1.25-inch astronomy accessory kit will enhance the performance of your telescope and let you get the most out of your stargazing experience.
Within the durable carrying case, you’ll find a selection of eyepieces that covers the common range: 6mm/8mm/12.5mm/ 20mm/40mm. All eyepieces are made of high-quality materials and feature multi-coated optics. The kit also includes five color planetary filters and a polarizing filter that highlights features of Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.
Besides a 2X Barlow lens, this set has a T adapter that attaches a DSLR camera to your telescope – perfect if you’re into astrophotography.
6. Meade Instruments 100° 10mm Eyepiece
This eyepiece is a true optical wonder. Featuring a 10 mm focal length, the Meade Instruments 100° 10mm Eyepiece offers up some nice and wide planetary views. It also has almost 20 mm of eye relief that ensures viewing comfort even for those who wear eyeglasses when they observe.
The eyepiece is constructed with premium-grade and exotic optical glass which delivers great images of the distant sky.
The Meade Instruments 100° 10mm Eyepiece comes with blackened lens edges to further increase image contrast. It also features folding eyecups, in case stargazers want to block stray light from the side.
7. Meade Instruments 8- to 24-Millimeter Zoom Eyepiece
An excellent addition to telescopes of all types, the Meade Instruments 8- to 24-Millimeter Zoom Eyepiece gives the widest viewing field along with extra sharpness and long eye relief. It also gives low astigmatism, spherical aberration, and off-axis color.
Thanks to its six-element system, this zoom eyepiece provides an apparent field of 40° at the 24 mm setting, increasing continuously to a 60° field at 8 mm. This eyepiece includes a soft rubber eye guard and a custom-fitted bayonet mount.
8. MEOPTEX 3-Piece Telescope Eyepiece Kit
The MEOPTEX 3-Piece Telescope Eyepiece Kit is a budget-friendly option for amateur stargazers. It encloses three 2″ Kellner wide-field eyepieces with comfortable viewing positions.
Every eyepiece is built with high-level craftsmanship with the lenses being multi-coated with blackened edges and interiors. They also have a more comfortable viewing position and better off-axis definition.
Thanks to the Modified Achromatic design, each eyepiece features an optical advancement over the traditional Kellner and gives sharp, faithful lunar, planetary, and deep-space images.
9. Orion 7-21mm Zoom Eyepiece
One of the best telescope eyepieces, the Orion 7-21mm Zoom Eyepiece allows you to enjoy the benefits of zoom eyepiece technology.
With a simple twist of the barrel, this eyepiece changes the focal length from 21mm to 7mm, or to any focal length in between, without swapping out eyepieces– ideal for locating an object at low magnification, then quickly zooming in to higher magnification for closer inspection.
The eyepiece consists of six lens elements, which are fully multi-coated with anti-reflection coatings for bright and clear views, rich in contrast. Glasses wearers can also experience the wide-field view of this eyepiece thanks to the exceptionally long 18mm-16.3mm eye relief range.
10. Orion Premium Telescope Accessory Kit
This comprehensive set of quality accessories will greatly enhance the abilities of any telescope. The Orion Premium Telescope Accessory Kit is a really great collection of eyepieces and filters for a telescope, including an assortment of 1.25-inch astronomy accessories.
Among the accessorizing pieces, you can find five Sirius plods telescope eyepieces, six eyepiece filters, and a versatile Barlow lens. The five Sirius plods telescope eyepieces come in 40mm, 17mm, 10mm, 7.5mm, and 6.3mm focal length for viewing at five different magnifications.
As for the six eyepiece filters, five are color planetary filters and one is a Moon filter. There’s also a 2x Barlow lens that doubles the magnification of any inserted 1.25-inch eyepiece.
11. SVBONY Telescope Eyepiece Set
The SVBONY Telescope Eyepiece Set is another great kit for beginners. The kit includes three 1.25” Plossl eyepieces: 6.3mm, 32mm, and 40mm. This gives stargazers a good variation in magnification and a wide range to observe different sky targets.
You can also find a 2x Barlow lens and T threads to attach a camera to your telescope. Each eyepiece comes with fully multicoated lenses featuring blackened edges that reduce scattering of stray light and maximize contrast when observing the distant sky. For example, the eyepieces have a soft rubber eye guard custom fit with a bayonet mount.
12. Tele Vue 100° 13mm Eyepiece
Tele Vue eyepieces are among the top-rated best telescope eyepieces on the market.
A premium eyepiece, the Tele Vue 13 mm Ethos Eyepiece comes with a 13 mm focal length that delivers superior minifying power, making it perfect for observing the planet’s surfaces in detail.
What most stargazers will love about this eyepiece is the extremely wide field of view. At 100 degrees, the field of view offers panoramic views of the night sky. The eyepiece comes with two different focuser lenses.
Optically close to perfect, the Tele Vue 100° 13mm Eyepiece will give you exciting stargazing experiences that’ll stay with you forever.
13. Zhumell Eyepiece and Filter Kit
Unlike many other kits, this kit from Zhumell comes in a beautiful, small travel case. Being good quality, the eyepieces of this kit are excellent for most beginner telescopes.
Inside the case, you’ll find four Zhumell Plossl 1.25-inch eyepieces, including 32mm, 12.5mm, 6mm, and 4mm, which will allow you to move through magnification with ease.
There’s also a Barlow lens that doubles the magnification of any 1.25” eyepiece. Like many other kits, this one comes with seven filters, six to increase planetary details, and one Moon filter for reducing glare during bright Moon phases.
Ranging from budget-friendly to blow-out-your-budget, these top telescope eyepieces and kits offer you a range of options to upgrade whatever eyepiece came with your telescope originally. Do you have any questions about the best telescope eyepieces and kits I recommend? Let me know in the comments!