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The 11 Best Budget-Friendly Telescopes Under $200

As you get more interested in astronomy, you might find yourself wanting equipment to level up your stargazing experience. After all, while our eyes are great tools for exploring the wonders of the night sky, they’re also severely limited. That’s why we spend literally billions of dollars to launch space telescopes like Hubble, Spitzer, and Webb… And why people invest in telescopes right here on earth.

Whether you’re buying your first telescope or ready to upgrade from an even cheaper (and likely less effective) telescope, I’m here to help. Making the leap up to a $100-$200 telescope will give you a lot more power to see into deep space, but only if you get a good one. That’s where this list of the best telescopes under $200 comes in!

Below you’ll find 11 budget-friendly telescopes that all come in at $200 or less (as of publishing; prices may vary when you read this!). Each one is a bit different, and has different features and capabilities. No matter which one you choose, you’ll likely be happy with how much further you can gaze into the solar system, galaxy, or universe.

1. Carson Red Planet 45-100x114mm

  • Type: Newtonian 
  • Price: ~$180

The RedPlanet 45-100 x 114mm from Carson is one of the best telescopes under $200. This Carson is a perfect combination of quality, value, features, and power. Thanks to its large 114mm diameter reflecting mirror, the Carson captures plenty of light to deliver crisp, bright images of the Moon and stars.  The telescope’s ease of use will seduce beginners the most. 

The RedPlanet features a tripod and equatorial mount to provide for a stable viewing platform. The optics come multicoated to ensure maximum light transmission, while the finder-scope offers excellent terrestrial and astronomical viewing opportunities. Last but not least, the RedPlanet comes with two extra eyepieces, a 20 mm eyepiece and a 9mm one, which reveal even sharper images. 

2. Celestron 80mm Travel Scope

  • Type:  Refractor 
  • Price: ~$120

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

This Celestron 80mm travel telescope weighs just 3.3 lbs, 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.

3. Celestron Astromaster 70AZ

  • Type:  Refractor 
  • Price: ~$150

Built with an intuitive setup system, the Celestron Astromaster 70AZ is another of the best telescopes under $200 on the market

While it’s not the highest-powered telescope, the Celestron Astromaster comes with an aperture of 70mm and magnification of 45x to 90x. At this magnification level, stargazers will be able to get a spectacularly good view of the Moon, see Mars close enough to distinguish some color, witness the magic of the Galilean moons, and appreciate Saturn’s rings clearly defined.

Despite its low price, this telescope is quite sturdy and well made, with durable, professional, high-quality components and materials. Last but not least, the Celestron Astromaster is super lightweight and portable, weighing just 11 lbs.

4. Celestron AstroMaster 76EQ

  • Type:  Newtonian 
  • Price: ~$180

You might have already noticed that Celestron builds great products for stargazers and in all price ranges. The AstroMaster 76EQ is an excellent choice for those who enjoy terrestrial and celestial viewing and have a tight budget. Revealing bright, clear images of the Moon and planets.

The AstroMaster 76EQ can achieve a 700mm focal length and up to 160X magnification– all in a compact optical tube. Celestron fully coats the mirrors to provide better light transmission to ensure better image quality.”. It comes with two eyepieces and a steel tripod to guarantee a fun night of stargazing!

5. Celestron PowerSeeker 114EQ

  • Type:  Newtonian
  • Price: ~$160

The PowerSeeker 114EQ is sure to take you on a trip across the universe, thanks again to Celestron. 

This Newtonian telescope is also one of the best budget telescopes for beginners. With the PowerSeeker, stargazers can enjoy higher-powered magnification and light collection; it also comes with two eyepieces and a 3x Barlow lens to vary the magnification levels.

This telescope features a manual German Equatorial mount paired with a slow-motion altitude rod for smooth and accurate pointing. While this is an excellent mount style, newbies will need some time to get the hang of it. The large design is the only downside of the PowerSeeker. Weighing in at 18.9 lbs, this telescope isn’t the best choice for traveling stargazers. 

6. Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ

  • Type: Bird-Jones Newtonian
  • Price: ~$180

Also from the Celestron family, the PowerSeeker 127EQ is another top option among the telescopes under $200 in the market. However, stargazers should know that the PowerSeeker 127EQ is mostly for intermediate stargazers. This is because the PowerSeeker 127EQ features a jones-bird type design, which is quite challenging to collimate. 

The best features of this telescope are its user-friendly mount design and its excellent magnification power, which you can increase using the extra eyepieces. Thanks to its manual German Equatorial mount design, the PowerSeeker 127EQ provides flexibility and portability. With the PowerSeeker 127EQ, you’ll enjoy crisp images of Saturn’s rings, clear views of the Moon’s craters, beautiful glimpses of the Galilean moons of Jupiter, and many other celestial objects and sights.

7. Meade Instruments Infinity 70mm

  • Type: Refractor 
  • Price: ~$190

Meade is a world leader in the industry when it comes to telescopes. 

The Meade Instruments Infinity 70mm meets all the criteria of a superb beginner telescope: easy to use, not too heavy, works amazingly well, and… is easy to use. 

This beginner’s telescope offers high usability without losing a pinch of quality and performance. Thanks to its altazimuth mount, this Meade is easy to adjust and even features a red dot sightline that will make locking into your targeted area much simpler. To make things even more accessible, the package includes an instructional DVD that orients you to how telescopes work and what you should be looking for. 

With a 70mm aperture and a focal length of 700mm, stargazers can get very crisp and clear images of the Moon and its crates along with great views of distant planets like Jupiter and Saturn. 

8. Meade Instruments Polaris 127mm

  • Type:  Refractor 
  • Price: ~$190 (may not be currently available)

If you want to get as close as possible to the Moon and stars while sticking to your budget, the Polaris 127mm from Meade is your best choice.

This achromatic refractor from Meade Instruments features a beautiful design with a wide optical tube that lets light flood right in. It comes with a 127mm aperture plus three different eyepieces: a 6.3mm, 9mm, and 26mm. Within the package, you’ll also find a Barlow 2x eyepiece to observe even finer details.

To ensure you can track objects smoothly, the Meade Polaris 127 comes with a stable German equatorial mount, which has slow-motion control settings that allow the user to make smooth and steady tracking for celestial objects.

9. Orion GoScope 80mm

  • Type: Dobsonian 
  • Price: ~$200

Compact and lightweight, the Orion GoScope 80mm is a telescope that packs a big performance punch. 

For maximum visibility, the GoScope features 80mm aperture refractor optics plus two eyepieces (20mm and 10mm) that let you observe the Moon craters, the rings of Saturn, the moons of Uranus. Also, the GoScope 80mm collects over 70% more light than a 60mm refractor telescope, increasing your chances of viewing bright cloudy nebulas. 

Besides its great performance, the GoScope’s lightweight and small design allow stargazers to carry it easily until they find the perfect spot for a night full of star surfing. 

10. Orion StarBlast II 4.5

  • Type:  Newtonian 
  • Price: ~$200

The Orion StarBlast II 4.5 is a favorite among novice stargazers, with its great optics, convenient portability, and easy-to-use operation

Thanks to its fast f/4.0 optics and a short 450mm focal length, the Orion StarBlast II 4.5 lets you find celestial objects in the sky. The eyepieces have higher transmission than other eyepieces on the lower end, so you can rest assured that you’ll brighter images as well as wider fields of view, which is what you want when viewing celestial objects. This Orion also comes with two Sirius Plossl eyepieces, a 25mm and a 10mm, to enjoy 18x and 45x magnification. 

The Orion StarBlast II 4.5 has an equatorial mount and an EZ Finder II reflex sight. Both features ensure you can aim the telescope anywhere in the night sky and keep the celestial objects centered and in focus. 

11. Zhumell Z114 Portable Altazimuth

  • Type:  Dobsonian 
  • Price: ~$150

The Zhumell Z114 Portable Altazimuth is the last on our list of best telescopes under $200 – but it’s only here because of the order of the alphabet, not the quality of the telescope!

The Zhumell comes with many high-end features you won’t find in many telescopes within this price range. Its top feature is the 114 mm parabolic primary mirror parabolic mirror. This parabolic mirror provides sharper views because it eliminates spherical aberration and other visual defects. It also collects over 90% light transmission to provide consistently brighter views of fainter objects like nebulae.

Built with a lightweight yet durable design, the Zhumell will be your number one companion in all star parties or camping trips. It is very easy to transport and to set up as well. Other accessories include a red dot finderscope and two fully multi-coated eyepieces, a 17 mm eyepiece with 24x magnification for wide-field views, and a 10 mm eyepiece, with higher 40x magnification.

Have any questions about these telescopes – or do you know of another great telescope under $200? Let me know any questions in the comments!

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