Best Telescopes Under 300 Hero
Space Gear

8 Great Telescopes Under $300 for Your Next Upgrade (2022)

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 eight 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.

Short on Time?
The best telescope under $300 is the Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro

Whether you’re just getting started or looking to try a different type of telescope without splurging, these are the best telescopes under $300 for your consideration.

This post was originally published in May 2021, and was re-ranked and updated in January 2022.

What to Look for in a Great 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.

The Best Telescopes under $300 (Ranked)

Keeping all those aspects in mind, I pulled together the best telescopes under $300 and ranked them. To come up with this ranking, I considered price, popularity, and review scores from Amazon.com. Here’s the list I came up with, using updated data for 2022.

RankProductPriceLink
1Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro~$270Link
2Orion StarBlast II 4.5~$260Link
3Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ~$240Link
4Meade Instruments Infinity 70mm AZ~$260Link
5Gskyer 600x90mm AZ~$300Link
6Orion GoScope 80mm~$240Link
7Celestron AstroMaster 76EQ~$300Link
8Carson Red Planet 45-100x114mm~$260Link

Read on to learn about each of these telescopes under $300 in greater detail.

1. Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro

  • Type: Reflector
  • Price: ~$270

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.

2. Orion StarBlast II 4.5

  • Type:  Newtonian 
  • Price: ~$260

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. 

3. Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ

  • Type:  Refractor 
  • Price: ~$240

While not as powerful, the Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ has big promises for the amateur stargazer.

ts best feature by far is the Intuitive push-to method. Simply said, the telescope links up to your smartphone and shows a map of the night sky. Then, on-screen arrows appear, guiding you as you move the telescope.

Optically, this Celestron is an achromatic refractor with a 4” aperture and 23” focal length. The highest magnification it can reach is 240x more than the naked eye. Since it is an achromatic reflector, you don’t have to worry about collimating the mirrors, scaring many beginners. It weighs 14.2lbs, making it easier to travel with or move around.

4. Meade Instruments Infinity 70mm

  • Type: Refractor 
  • Price: ~$260

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. 

5. 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.

6. Orion GoScope 80mm

  • Type: Dobsonian 
  • Price: ~$240

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. 

7. Celestron AstroMaster 76EQ

  • Type:  Newtonian 
  • Price: ~$300

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!

8. Carson Red Planet 45-100x114mm

  • Type: Newtonian 
  • Price: ~$260

The RedPlanet 45-100 x 114mm from Carson is one of the best telescopes under $300. 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. 

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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