13 Best Portable Telescopes (Under $100, $300, $600)

With our entrance into this era of technology, the advancements being carried out in every field are astonishing. Surely humans started cultivating technology into their everyday life just to make it easier, but it has proved to be beneficial in other fields as well.

If you are a camping enthusiast and want to make the trips a little more magical for your family by creating a pathway for a safe and sound adventurous journey, then you must own a telescope. These portable telescopes are the best ones available in the market loaded with the most advanced technology. Let’s take a look at the best portable telescopes available. By the way, you may need a portable camping tent to stay outside if you watch the stars at night.

Portable Telescopes Under $100

This category includes portable telescopes with basic functions. With them, you can view lunar craters, stars, and even clouds of Jupiter. In terms of observation capabilities, they really do not differ much from more expensive models, but assembly and management are much easier, in addition, have smaller sizes.

ItemDimensionsWeightApertureFocal Ratio

Celestron - 70mm Travel Scope

Celestron - 70mm Travel Scope

18 x 7 x 14 inches3.3 pounds70mmf/5.71See Best Price

Levenhuk Skyline Portable Travel 70 Refractor Telescope

Levenhuk Skyline Portable Telescope

17.72 x 13.19 x 6.3 inches5.56 pounds70mm


See Best Price

Meade Instruments – Infinity 50mm Aperture

Meade Instruments

39 x 39 x 52 inches2.86 pounds50mm


See Best Price

Levenhuk Skyline 76x700

Levenhuk Skyline

9.8 x 37.4 x 12 inches11 pounds76mm


See Best Price

You may also like: Best Compact Binoculars

Celestron – 70mm Travel Scope

Celestron - 70mm Travel ScopeThe first thing this telescope lures buyers to observe is a backpack. The bag is qualitatively sewn and the whole set fits perfectly inside. A lot of compartments, all sorts of pockets for little things.

Shoppers also praise the local instruction, written in popular language. So if you decide to buy this model for your child, a middle-aged schoolboy will perfectly understand everything himself.

The focal length here, by the standards of telescopes, is short – 400 mm. Some parts here are plastic – so the price is less, and the weight is small – less than three kilograms.

The set includes a classic photo tripod of good quality. This telescope is ideal for beginners. It will seem too simple for a pro.

By the way, you can connect a camera to it with an adapter. Thus, the device may well be considered as an inexpensive variant of a long-focus lens for astrophoto enthusiasts.

See Best Price

Levenhuk Skyline Portable Travel 70 Refractor Telescope

Levenhuk Skyline Portable Travel 70 Refractor TelescopeThis is another not bad amateur model of the refractor. It comes with a backpack. This model will best show itself when observing the city – away from the earthly light sources.

Thanks to the diagonal prism, the image is not turned upside down. Thus this device can also be used for daytime observation of the fauna.

Included is a protective film – a solar filter to be able to observe stains on a star. With regular eyepieces, you can get an increase of up to 200x.

Although the picture, of course, will suffer a lot with this zoom. But at 140x – this is the parameter declared as the largest useful, the quality will be acceptable.

The set includes an aluminum tripod.

See Best Price

Meade Instruments – Infinity 50mm Aperture

Meade Instruments – Infinity 50mm ApertureThis is the best gift that can be given to a child. Despite the low cost, the telescope comes with automatic guidance, and the useful zoom is 30x-150x.

A long focal length lens from an achromatic pair of lenses builds the image almost without distortion.

The telescope design is compatible with various astronomical accessories. For example, Barlow lenses, filters, incomplete eyepieces.

Many users, who are also interested in observing the starry sky, believe that inexpensive children’s telescopes are the best option.

It fails neither in image quality nor in the quality of manufacture. Thus, it is not possible to identify any significant disadvantages.

See Best Price

Levenhuk Skyline 76×700

Levenhuk Skyline 76x700This model, like the previous one, is made on the basis of the classic optical scheme – Newton’s reflector. This design is ideal as the first tool for a novice astronomer who is just making his first steps in this field.

This telescope does not weigh too much (it can be conveniently transported as ordinary hand luggage). It has an acceptable cost and is easy to use. The optical circuit does not distort the colors.

Such chromatic aberration is often seen in inexpensive lens models. It is best seen at the border of quite bright objects. The telescope is supplied with everything you need for comfortable observation.

The mirror of the telescope has a diameter of 76 mm, thanks to it are able to collect light about 100 times more than the naked eye. Thanks to this quality, it is possible to view not only the planets themselves but also their large satellites.

It shows well objects that are far from the solar system. For example, galaxies, nebulae, all kinds of double stars or clusters of stars. All the mirrors are covered with protective compositions, through which it is possible to ensure a long period of operation of this equipment.

The pipe of the telescope is of lightweight aluminum alloy, is on the alto-azimuthal mounting with manual control. It comes with a tripod, which can be adjusted in height if necessary, and has a convenient shelf for various accessories. The optical seeker has a sixfold magnification, so you can easily find the desired object. Eyepiece lenses are of glass and have multi-layer enlightenment. The largest useful magnification is 150 times.

See Best Price

Portable Telescopes Under $300

Devices from this category have a basic package and a standard set of functions. They are easy to operate, provide a quality picture, and can be complemented by various accessories if desired. In addition, they have high quality, which is very appreciated by customers.

ItemDimensionsWeightApertureFocal Ratio

National Geographic Telescope

National Geographic Telescope

11.02 x 18.11 x 20.08 inches6.6 pounds114mmf/13.8See Best Price

Celestron - AstroMaster 70AZ Telescope

Celestron - AstroMaster

14.96 x 5.12 x 3.94 inches17.99 pounds70mm


See Best Price

Celestron - AstroMaster 114EQ

Celestron - AstroMaster 114EQ

11.02 x 32.28 x 16.73 inches19.8 pounds114mm


See Best Price

Celestron - AstroMaster 90EQ

Celestron - AstroMaster 90EQ

16.93 x 5.91 x 3.94 inches15.05 pounds90mm


See Best Price

Celestron - AstroMaster 102AZ

Celestron - AstroMaster 102AZ

36 x 30 x 50 inches20 pounds102mm


See Best Price

National Geographic Telescope

National Geographic TelescopeThis is a collaboration of well-known brands – NG and BRESSER. Small-size model for placement on a flat surface – window sill, table. It weighs about 3.5 kilograms.

Inside the pipe is made matte black to ensure better observations in the telescope. Dobson’s mount was made of chipboard. It has a scale of azimuths and a built-in compass. There are recesses under the eyepieces.

The telescope refractor from Bresser has not the largest diameter of the lens (only 70 mm) but has a lot of other advantages. The main advantage is unsurpassed German quality.

Everything is perfect in it – materials, assembly, accuracy, image clarity. Useful magnification is 18x-88x, which is more suitable for observation of the Moon and other close celestial objects.

It is really pleasant to use the device – floor mounting on a tripod, automatic pointing, azimuth mounting, tracking mechanism. As extra advantages users name the presence of the GoTo control panel, the lunar filter, and a movable map of the starry sky. But the main feature of the telescope is that its database contains about 272000 objects. This is much more in comparison with other models with automatic pointing.

See Best Price

You may also like: Best Tripod Deer Stands

Celestron – AstroMaster 70AZ Telescope

Celestron - AstroMaster 70AZ TelescopeThis is a universal inexpensive model, which is equally well suited for studying the starry sky and ground objects. This amateur telescope is functional but at the same time very easy to use.

It can be called optimal for beginners. Thanks to the special technology of the optical system the image of the telescope is oriented correctly. Also among the advantages are the specialized software “TheSkyX – First Light Edition”.

It is necessary for the identification of celestial bodies from 10000 objects entered into it. Also, it is possible to note the strong equatorial German mount.

The diameter of the lens is 90 mm and the largest magnification with the eyepiece from the set reaches 100x. The possibility of 13x-213x magnification allows observing objects of different distances.

Customers who chose this particular model have never regretted their decision. The positive feedback they begin with the words about the quality of the product, the excellent quality of its manufacture. Many note the simplicity of self-assembly, even for a beginner, excellent optics, and generally regarded as an excellent option for the home.

See Best Price

Celestron – AstroMaster 114EQ

Celestron - AstroMaster 114EQThese are very functional products, which are characterized by the excellent quality of both the assembly and the resulting image. The optics here are powerful, and all mechanical elements are reliable, it is simple to use this telescope.

The mass of space objects can be viewed through this telescope. In this case, the image will be bright and contrasting. The design is modern and interesting.

Such a telescope will be the most suitable for a person who is seriously interested in astronomy. With the help of this equipment can be seen many stars in our galaxy, with various constellations.

It is quite natural that the telescope will be able to see all the major planets of our solar system, various nebulae, and so on.

The set comes with a viewfinder with a red dot. Besides, there are two eyepieces with diameters of 10 and 20 mm. The first allows you to get a picture increased by 33 times, the second – 65 times. With such eyepieces, you can quickly catch the desired object.

Twofold and fivefold Barlow lenses provide the high power of the telescope. There are also special filters for the moon and stars. At the maximum setting, you can get an increase of 307 times. In this case, you can see the craters, tracks, famous Martian channels, and so on.

See Best Price

Celestron – AstroMaster 90EQ

Celestron - AstroMaster 90EQThe AstroMaster 90 EQ telescope model from Celestron is a powerful optical tool. It advantageously combines quality optics, reliability, and ease of use.

This model is one of the best for beginner astronomers, with which you can observe celestial and terrestrial objects. This type of telescope is the most economical because here mirrors are used instead of expensive lenses.

The device has an optical circuit Newton’s Reflector, a spherical-shaped mirror is used as a lens. At this relative aperture, it is almost the same shape as a parabolic mirror.

The mirror diameter of the lens is 90 mm and the focal length is 1000 mm. The image will be clear without blurring even at high magnifications.

It should be noted that the device has a low aperture, so the quality of the eyepieces is not particularly important here. Stars in the field will still be very accurate, even with inexpensive wide-angle eyepieces like Erfle or Kölner.

One of the advantages is the CG-2 mount of the equatorial type, which comes with coordinate circles on both axes. With the equatorial mount, you can adjust the rotation axis of the telescope so as to follow the movement of celestial objects. The mount is in turn mounted on the head of the tripod with a screw.

Telescope balancing

Since the telescope has a German mount, it is necessary to use a counterweight, because of the asymmetry. Balancing of the device is carried out with the help of a counterweight bar, on which the counterweights are hung. Celestron - AstroMaster 90EQ 2

For their installation, it is necessary to unscrew the safety screw from the end of the counterweight bar, then screw at the end of the bar.

To install the counterweight must turn the mount itself so that the bar was directed down, then put on the counterweights in turn.

Alignment of the seeker 

The AstroMaster 90 EQ telescope uses a built-in StarPointer search engine with a red dot that resembles a laser pointer.

Thanks to the StarPointer search engine, you can quickly point the telescope at the desired celestial object.

As a light source in the search engine uses a red LED, absolutely safe for optics and the eye, as it does not emit laser radiation. The seeker is powered by the CR1620 battery. Before you start using the finder, it is obligatory to adjust it.

In a light time of day, the visible LED brightness will not be enough for normal change, so it is best to carry out change at night. This telescope is very fast to assemble and does not need any tools.

See Best Price

Celestron – AstroMaster 102AZ

Celestron - AstroMaster 102AZ In this telescope, the focus unit is cast entirely from metal, which is a plus to the strength and quality of observations. The manufacturers have made very grippy pens, for which it is comfortable to choose the direction.

A bonus here is micrometric pens, whose smooth rotation helps to center the object of observation and guide it. A collimator sight is on top of the telescope. Thanks to the red light-emitting diode on the lens, it is convenient to choose the direction.

The manufacturer equips this telescope for observation with one of the best tripods. Made of metal, very hard. But at the same time, we managed to find the optimal balance. Included with it are quality eyepieces and Barlow lenses.

The quality is at a high level, so you will only have to buy something if you want to expand your optics park, but not improve it in any way. There is a special adapter here that can be used to attach an SLR camera.

See Best Price

Portable Telescopes Under $600

This price category includes instruments for astronomers. These are refractors of high class, powerful telescopes, with which you can observe not only the surface of the moon but also the galaxy, as well as nebulae. Models in this category are often equipped with a computerized assembly and multi-layer illuminated optics.

ItemDimensionsWeightApertureFocal Ratio

Celestron - NexStar 90SLT

Celestron - NexStar 90SLT

40 x 19 x 11 inches11.99 pounds90mmf/14See Best Price

Celestron - NexStar 4SE Telescope

Celestron - NexStar 4SE

32.4 x 27.2 x 13.4 inches11.02 pounds102mm


See Best Price

Orion 9826 StarMax

Orion 9826 StarMax

38 x 17 x 9 inches36.1 pounds127mm


See Best Price

Celestron - NexStar 127SLT

Celestron - NexStar 127SLT

40 x 19 x 11 inches20 pounds127mm


See Best Price

Celestron – NexStar 90SLT

Celestron - NexStar 90SLTIt’s not the most expensive model on the market, but in our ranking of the best telescopes for surveillance, it’s the most premium.

Its features are also superior to many in this review. Thanks to computer control, pointing is done automatically.

All you need to do is specify the location, time, and date of observation. For the laziest, a star tour is available.

Based on the time and coordinates, it will show the most interesting, brightest things. Both mirrors and lenses are used in the lens.

This ensures the highest image quality. You will be able to study not only bright objects but also nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies. The mount is of high-quality pleasant plastic.

See Best Price

Celestron – NexStar 4SE Telescope

Celestron - NexStar 4SE TelescopeIt is a universal device with an attractive optical design. It is easy to install and has compact dimensions, and the cost is quite reasonable.

The diameter of the main mirror is 102 mm. With such a size you can see relatively close objects, located mainly within the solar system. Optics are processed with brightening compounds.

It is produced by Star Bright XLT technology, which minimizes the possible loss of light. The telescope is supplied with a base that includes more than 4000 cataloged objects. If necessary, it can be updated via the Internet.

The telescope is fully computerized and a motorized fork mount is provided. This allows you to find and monitor space objects in automatic mode. It uses the guidance system SkyAlign. You only need to point it at three stars, after which it will align the device.

This function is very convenient for beginners. The telescope is based on the Maxutov-Kassergen optical circuit. Thus, it will not need any extra color calibration. The size of the optical tube is small, it is also characterized by low weight. The tripod is very easy to fold.

See Best Price

Orion 9826 StarMax

Orion 9826 StarMaxThis is a telescope reflector with an optical system of Newton, a lens diameter of 203 mm, and a focal length of 1200 mm. It is an excellent choice for those who want to observe distant space objects.

The magnification minimum is 18x, which is a very good indicator. The automatic pointing and tracking mechanism makes observation simple and pleasant even for not very experienced users.

In their reviews, users point to the advantages of many pointing speeds. Buyers also note the foldable design, which greatly simplifies the transportation of the device. Another advantage over other models is Dobson’s automated mounting.

The disadvantages might be high cost, but compared to similar telescopes from the same category, it is quite affordable.

See Best Price

You may also like: Best Portable Outdoor Screens For Any Budget

Celestron – NexStar 127SLT

Celestron - NexStar 127SLTThis telescope belongs to the newest series of devices equipped with computer control. This design is specifically for people who are just beginning to grasp the basics of observing celestial bodies.

The telescope uses the latest technology to automatically point objects at them. The control system is intuitive. It comes with many extra components.

They make the telescope fully ready for use. The change process is carried out through a special computer application, and there is no need to know the names of stars.

The telescope will point its own lens at the object selected in the existing database.

This saves a lot of time for checking with the maps of the starry sky. Such telescope will come with the most advanced software and may be updated via the Internet if necessary. The connection node of the telescope and the mount has been upgraded.

Thus, if necessary, you can quickly change the optical tube. That the design was the most stable, instead of aluminum tripods used steel tubular tripods. If necessary, they can easily dampen even serious vibrations.

See Best Price

FAQ for portable telescopes buyers:

What size portable telescope do I need to see the rings of Saturn?

The rings of Saturn should be visible in even the smallest telescope at 25x [magnified by 25 times]. A good 3-inch scope at 50x [magnified by 50 times] can show them as a separate structure detached on all sides from the ball of the planet.

What magnification do you need to see Jupiter?

To look at planets like Jupiter and Saturn, you will need a magnification of about 180; with that, you should be able to see the planets and their moons. If you want to look at the planet alone with higher resolution, you will need a magnification of about 380.

Is a 70mm telescope good?

However, a 70 mm refractor (which collects 36% more light than a 60mm telescope) is considered by many amateur astronomers to be the minimum size for a good quality beginner refractor telescope. It is acceptable for observing bright objects like lunar details, planets, star clusters, and bright double stars.

Can you see the flag on the moon with a portable telescope?

Yes, the flag is still on the moon, but you can’t see it using a telescope. The Hubble Space Telescope is only 2.4 meters in diameter – much too small! Resolving the larger lunar rover (which has a length of 3.1 meters) would still require a telescope 75 meters in diameter.

Can you use a portable telescope during the day?

It is safe to observe anything during the day, as long as you don’t point the telescope close to the Sun. E.g. Mercury is pretty hard to observe at other times than during the day (or dusk), and yet astronomers have been observing it for a very long time.

Should I buy a portable telescope or portable binoculars?

In general, portable telescopes offer a greater magnification than portable binoculars. Thanks to their greater aperture, a telescope might give better performance in low light conditions. Binoculars offer a 3D depth of field, whereas a telescope is flat. With portable binoculars, you stimulate both eyes, unlike a portable telescope that needs only one.

Leave a Comment