Space Gear

7 Good Beginner Telescopes Under $100 (2023)

When you just start out as a stargazer, there’s a literal universe to discover. And initially, you can make many discoveries by just using your own two eyes and finding a good stargazing spot with dark skies. But as your interest in astronomy increases, you might want to increase your viewing power and invest in some equipments to unlock the deeper secrets of the solar system and beyond.

That’s where telescopes (and binoculars) come in. With a decent telescope, you can see loads more than what’s available to view with the unaided eye – think Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s Galilean moons, the Orion nebula, and even other galaxies like Andromeda and Triangulum. Seriously, a telescope is a must-have… but what if you don’t want to break the bank or invest a ton before you know what you’re doing?

Best Telescopes under $100 Hero

That’s where beginner telescopes come in. Many of these telescopes are budget-friendly, and there are even some telescopes under $100 that will help you get started without spending a lot. While they obviously won’t be as powerful or even as high-quality as more expensive telescopes (which can range from $200 to $2000!), they’ll get you oriented to how telescopes work, and foster your enthusiasm for stargazing even more – which justifies a future investment in an even better ‘scope.

Short on Time?
The best telescope under $100 is the Gskyer 70mm Travel Telescope

In this post, I’ll cover five of the best astronomy telescopes under $100 which are perfect for beginners, families, and those who want to start stargazing without breaking their piggy bank. Read on to discover your options and different telescope styles.

Note: Lens and telescope prices have been volatile in recent years due to supply chain issues. Prices might vary widely from the prices I reported when this post was last updated in January 2023.

This post was originally published in late 2021, and was re-ranked and updated in January 2023.

What to Look for in a Starter Stargazing Telescope

As you compare the telescopes below – as well as any others you’re considering – keep in mind the following:

  • Price. Naturally, price is an important consideration for many people, especially when you’re just starting out in astronomy. You don’t want to spend too much for a telescope you never use, nor do you want to compromise on certain other features.
  • Type. Research how different types of telescopes (reflector vs refractor, Dobsonian vs Schmidt-Cassegrain) affect your ability to see the night sky objects you’re looking for.
  • Diameter. The diameter of your telescope will obviously affect how far you can peer into deep space. Again, consider how this affects your ability to see specific objects you want to observe.
  • Stability. As you read reviews about different telescopes, keep a particular eye on comments about the base, mount, and tripod. These can impact your observation a ton, and it’s almost always worth it to upgrade for better stability.
  • Other features. If you’re looking for computer-assisted night sky navigation, there are options on this list. If you prefer to search the sky yourself, that may help save some money for those on a tight budget.

All this said, let’s dive into the list of telescopes under $100 that I recommend.

Best Telescopes Under $100 (Ranked)

Keeping all those aspects in mind, I pulled together the best telescopes under $100 and ranked them. To come up with this ranking, I considered price, popularity, and review scores from Here’s the list, using updated data for 2023.

(from 2022)
1Gskyer 70mm Travel TelescopeNew!~$70Link
2Celestron 70mm Portable Refractor Travel ScopeNew!~$75Link
3Orion GoScope III 70mm Refractor Travel Telescope~$75Link
4Orion Observer 70mm II AZ Refractor~$100Link
5Orion SpaceProbe II 76mm Altazimuth Reflector Telescope↓1~$90Link
6MaxUSee 70mm Refractor Telescope↓1~$60Link
7Celestron 80mm Travel ScopeNew!~$100Link

Read on to learn about each of these telescopes under $100 in greater detail.

1. Gskyer Telescope 70mm Travel Telescope

  • Type: Refractor
  • Price: ~$70

Sitting toward the lower end of the scale, the Gskyer 70mm travel telescope is an unbeatable option for stargazers with a tight budget. It includes fully-coated optics, 400mm focal length, and 70mm aperture, which provide clear and high-resolution images of celestial bodies.

As for magnification, the package includes two extra eyepieces of 25 mm and 10 mm plus one 3x Barlow lens, reaching a magnification of 120x.

The Gskyer is also one of the best options if you’re into astrophotography. The telescope includes a wireless camera and remote and a smartphone adapter to take pictures of the distant sky.

2. Celestron 70mm Portable Travel Scope

  • Type: Refractor
  • Price: ~$75

The Celestron 70mm travel scope is one of the best telescopes under $200. It’s an excellent option for stargazers who are always on the move and need a lightweight telescope; it only weighs 3.3 pounds!

The telescope features fully-coated glass optics and a 70mm aperture, which provides brighter views of the cosmos. The set also comes with two high-quality eyepieces (20mm and 10mm) that provide low and high-power views of celestial objects at night and terrestrial objects during the day. There’s also an erect image star diagonal, a finder scope, a lovely traveling backpack, and an adjustable tripod.

Thanks to its refractors design, the Celestron is also one of the best beginner telescopes for children or amateurs, making it easy to set up and use. The only drawback of the Celestron is the tripod. Although it’s portable, it isn’t very stable.

3. Orion GoScope III 70mm Travel Telescope

  • Type: Refractor
  • Price: ~$75

The Orion GoScope is arguably one of the, if not the, best telescopes under $100. It fulfills all the characteristics that a beginner telescope needs: it’s versatile and affordable, comes fully equipped, and has high-quality optics.

At around $90, the Orion GoScope III features a 70mm achromatic lens system. As for the accessories, it includes two anti-reflection coated 1.25″ Kellner eyepieces (20mm and 9mm), a finder scope, an Altazimuth mount, an aluminum tripod, and a star diagonal.

Thanks to its refractor design, the telescope is easy to use and set up. Its ultra-light body also makes it perfect for carrying around when traveling. The biggest drawback is the tripod, which is terribly unstable and sensitive to even the slightest touch.

4. Orion Observer 70mm II AZ Refractor

  • Type: Refractor
  • Price: ~$100

The Orion Observer 70mm II AZ Refractor is one of the best sub-$100 telescopes for beginners; it previously made my list of great telescopes under $200, so it’s one of the more expensive on this list.

With a 70mm achromatic glass objective lens and 700mm focal length, the Orion Observer will bring the distant sky closer to you than ever before. The pack comes with plenty of accessories, including two 25mm and 10mm 1.25″ Kellner eyepieces, a red-dot sight, 1.25″ rack and pinion focuser, 90-degree star diagonal, and the Orion MoonMap 260. The Orion Observer is powerful enough to let you see Jupiter’s streaks, Venus, and the Moon.

To enhance your stargazing experience, you can consider adding Barlow lenses, moon filters, and other accessories. Like most beginner telescopes, the Orion Observer’s setup is quick and easy. 

5. Orion SpaceProbe II 76mm Altazimuth Reflector Telescope

  • Type: Reflector
  • Price: ~$90

Yes, another telescope from the Orion family. The Orion SpaceProbe II is another fantastic beginner telescope. Thanks to its 3″ aperture and 700mm focal length, the Orion collects plenty of light from the night sky, allowing stargazers to enjoy sharp views of the Moon, Saturn rings, moons orbiting Jupiter, and even some brighter nebulae. 

The package comes with two Kellner eyepieces (25mm and 10mm), so you’ll have more options when it comes to magnification. The telescope also has a red-dot reflex sight, 1.25″ rack-and-pinion focuser, and Orion’s MoonMap 260. While the telescope itself has a sturdy and durable build, it’s not the same case for the tripod. As you must have noticed, most beginner telescopes come with wobbly tripods, and the Orion SpaceProbe isn’t an exception.  

6. MaxUSee 70mm Refractor Telescope

  • Type: Refractor
  • Price: ~$60

Priced at around $60, the MaxUSee is the most affordable telescope on the list. It’s a popular option among families wanting to introduce their children to dark sky viewing. The MaxUSee comes with excellent features that will guarantee you have an unforgettable stargazing session.

The telescope has a 70mm large-aperture objective lens plus four extra 1.25″ eyepieces, H6mm, H12.5mm, H20mm, and K25mm. You also get a 3x Barlow lens and 1.5X Erecting eyepiece.

This telescope also features a smartphone adapter. Its moon mirror is one of the highlights, helping amateurs in their lunar viewing. The package does come with a tripod, although it’s very unstable and very short.

7. Celestron 80mm Travel Scope

  • Type:  Refractor 
  • Price: ~$100

The Celestron 80mm Travel Scope is the number one beginner telescope for stargazers who travel a lot.

This Celestron 80mm travel telescope weighs just 3.3lbs, making it super portable. Following the same practicality, the Celestron Travel Scope is super easy to set up and dismount. Featuring an 80mm aperture, this telescope offers better image clarity and brightness. It also features a few accessories, including two eyepieces (20mm and 10mm), an erect image star diagonal, a finder scope, smartphone adapter, tripod, and a custom backpack for traveling.

There you have it – the best telescopes under $100 for beginners or budget-conscious stargazers. Have any questions or know about other great cheap telescopes? Let me know in the comments.

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Valerie is the founder and editor of Space Tourism Guide. She grew up in Alaska, has lived across the U.S., and traveled around the world to enjoy the night sky from many different perspectives. Join her on this journey to explore space right here on earth.

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