Best Telescopes Under 300 Hero
Space Gear

11 Great Telescopes Under $300 – Perfect for Beginners

While stargazing is great, there’s nothing like unlocking the wonders of the night sky with a telescope. And while I’ve shared a few other posts about telescopes at different price points (from $200 to $2000, and the best options under $1000), it helps to know multiple options at given lower price points. In this post, I’m covering the best telescopes under $300. This price point is a good option for either getting a really nice starter telescope or investing in a second telescope of a different type than you currently own.

These 11 telescopes under $300 represent a wide range, including reflector, refractor, and catadioptric types. They also represent a price range, showing how there are good options at a number of price points under your $300 budget. Whether you’re just getting started or looking to try a different type of telescope without splurging, these are the best telescopes

What to Look for in a Great Stargazing Telescope

Best Telescopes Under $1000 Hero

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 $300 that I recommend.

1. Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ

  • Type: Refractor
  • Price: ~$175

The Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ is widely considered one of the best telescopes under $300. This powerful equipment is user-friendly with a sturdy lightweight frame weighing roughly 18lbs. It also comes with an adjustable-height tripod, a dot finder scope, and two eyepieces. Not only is this telescope ideal for viewing celestial bodies at night, but it’s also great for viewing expansive landscapes and wildlife during the day.

The Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ is also easy to set up, and it also has terrific software that mimics celestial bodies through an interactive sky simulation.

2. Celestron AstroMaster 90EQ

  • Type: Refractor
  • Price: ~$250

The Celestron AstroMaster 90EQ Refractor telescope is powerful, effective, and budget-friendly – making ideal for amateur astronomers.

It has high-quality 90 mm optics having a primary mirror that’s fully coated. This refractor telescope under $300 displays spectacular views of heavenly bodies thanks to its slow-motion control Knobs that allow you to make a precise adjustment when stargazing. This telescope weighs 15lbs and is quick to set up, making it easier to use regardless of whether you’re an adult or child.

3. Celestron AstroMaster 102AZ

  • Type: Refractor
  • Price: ~$275

One of the best telescopes for $300 that offers you value for money is the Celestron AstroMaster 102AZ.

This high-quality refractor telescope is popular among stargazers. It features 102mm optics coated with a primary mirror, giving you clear views of celestial and terrestrial bodies. Its lightweight frame weighing 20lbs and quick setup typically make it’s an effective stargazing tool since it’s easy to pack up and move to good dark sky locations if you don’t have good backyard stargazing options.

4. Celestron AstroMaster 114EQ

  • Type: Newtonian Reflector
  • Price: ~$250

Finding a good telescope under $300 is hard, but the Celestron AstroMaster 114EQ is yet another great option from this company in the AstroMaster family.

It’s a little heavier than other options at almost 27 lbs – so not as move-friendly as others, but still a decent option for the price.

This telescope has a manual German equatorial mount that makes it easier to navigate the night sky while stargazing. It also has a slow-motion altitude rod that enhances accuracy and clearer images. In simple terms, this telescope is a combination of power, quality, and value for money.  

5. Celestron Inspire 70AZ  

  • Type: Reflector
  • Price: ~$250

Moving out of the AstroMaster family, Celestron has several other great telescopes under $300, and the Inspire 70AZ is one such option.

The Inspire 70AZ is easy to set up, and comes in under 18 lbs. This makes it among the lightest Celestron on my list, great for relocating for star parties or stargazing trips beyond your backyard.

In addition to standard accessories, this telescope also comes with a smartphone adapter – always a crowd pleaser and a great way to share photos from your best stargazing sessions.

6. Celestron Inspire 80AZ

  • Type: Refractor
  • Price: ~$215

For a bit more power in the Inspire family, consider the Celestron Inspire 80AZ.

Moving out of the AstroMaster family, Celestron has several other great telescopes under $300, and the Inspire 80AZ is one such option.

As its name suggests, it has an 80mm refractor with a fully coated lens. Its frame is lightweight, weighing just under 17 lbs, and you can easily set it up with no tools. This affordable telescope also has an adjustable tripod, an accessory tray and a red LED flashlight that comes in handy during any stargazing session.

Lastly, the Celestron Inspire 80AZ has panning handle control that enables you to firmly secure your telescope.

7. Gskyer 600x90mm AZ

  • Type: Refractor
  • Price: ~$300

Yes, there are other great telescopes under $300 that aren’t made by Celestron! The Gskyer 600x90mm AZ refractor telescope sneaks in under the wire – but by pushing the price limit, it also pushes the features right to the limit of your budget.

This telescope comes in around 18 lbs, which is on-par for other telescopes in this range – but it’s a solid 3.5-inch (90mm) aperture that opens up a bit more of the night sky than others on this list. It also comes with a stainless steel tripod (rather than iron and aluminum for comparable telescopes), helping improve stability during your stargazing sessions.

8. Meade Instruments Infinity 70mm AZ

  • Type: Refractor
  • Price: ~$150

Moving on to Meade Instruments, the Infinity 70mm AZ is another good option – it sits in the middle of the Infinity range (there are much cheaper options from 50mm to more expensive options above $300 up to 102mm).

It comes with other standard features like a red dot viewfinder and Altazimuth mount. It also, like many telescopes of this style, has a slow motion control rod for smooth tracking once you’re set up.

While this might not be the most powerful telescope on the list, it’s a good starter telescope and weighs just 7 lbs – making it a fantastic option for your first telescope.

9. Orion 9823 Apex 102MM

  • Type: Catadioptrics (Maksutov-Cassegrain)
  • Price: ~$250

No list of telescopes is complete without including at least a few Orion telescopes – and they have several telescopes under $300 that are worthy of this list.

The Orion Apex 102MM is lightweight (under five pounds without a tripod which must be purchased separately) and has powerful magnification despite its small size.

If you’re looking for an entry point to the Catadioptrics style telescope without spending $1,000 or more, this is a good starter!

10. Orion 10014 SkyQuest XT4.5

  • Type: Catadioptrics (Dobsonian)
  • Price: ~$300

If Dobsonian is your style – or something you want to try without making a major investment, the Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 is one of the best telescopes under $300 to consider.

This fantastic telescope is user-friendly and ideal for both kids and adults. At 4.5″ (114mm) aperture, this is one of the largest telescopes on the list, giving you access to deeper space objects than others.

It does push the weight up – at roughly 22 lbs – making it less travel-friendly, but Dobsonians are all a bit like that, and this one is on the lightweight end of the spectrum.

11. Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro

  • Type: Reflector
  • Price: ~$200

One more to consider on this list of the best telescopes under $300: the Orion 10015 Starblast 4.5 Astro. Despite its design being nearly 20 years old – it just goes to show how a classic design will always work and makes this telescope a solid investment for your child or enthusiast of any age with a lifelong love of space.

This telescope is equipped with a focal length of 450mm and a 4.5-inch aperture; that’s a good combo for moon-viewing, planet-spotting, and stargazing. And at just 13 lbs, this is a tabletop reflector telescope that’s great for stargazing events whether that’s a family camping trip or a star party at your local state park.

There you have it – the list of what I consider to be the best telescopes under $300. Have any questions about these products or have you tried one (or more) of them and want to share your thoughts? Post them in the comments!

Share this to help others enjoy the night sky!

Valerie is the founder and editor of Space Tourism Guide. She decided to start the site after realizing how many friends and family had never seen the Milky Way, and that space tourism was going to unlock the next great travel destination: space!

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