Do you love stargazing so much that you want a product that will let you do that even when you’re on the go? Then a portable telescope is a perfect option for you. If you’re choosing the best portable telescope for your money, then listen up: we’ve compiled a detailed list of the 5 best portable telescope options you can find right now.
If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what is the best Portable Telescope, then I recommend below As the best ones.
Last update on 2020-10-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Table of Contents
Why Buy a Portable Telescope?
A portable telescope is a perfect gadget for anyone who enjoys looking at the dreamy sky.
Imagine those summer days when you’re out on the road with your RV in the middle of nowhere – just you and your family or friends. And the summer sky just seems to be so well lit and dreamy with stars that you simply can’t resist to take a look with a telescope.
And that’s where you do need a portable telescope. Packing up a standard telescope for home use is too inconvenient that you don’t even bother. So you need a portable version of it. Sure, a telescope for home use might be sharper and higher quality, but you can’t take it with you.
So How Do You Choose the Best Portable Telescope?
Telescopes are sometimes so technically advanced that you simply need to take a closer look at the features. And there’s a lot to analyze in that department. From the focal length, aperture size, the type of telescope in use, to the accessories, the tripod included, and how lightweight the telescope is. Here are some crucial aspects to consider when choosing the telescope:
- The type of telescope
- The aperture size
- Eyepiece number and magnification
- Focal ratio
- Size, Portability, and ease-of-use
You will have to analyze what exactly you need, and determine the best product for your needs by taking a look at the features. But first, it’s useful to know what the features are, and why they are important when you’re making the decision. Let’s take a look at each aspect.
What are the 3 Main Types of Telescopes?
First, you’ll want to take a look at what type the telescope is. In essence, there are not that many big differences between the types of telescopes, but it’s always useful to know what each type represents. What are the types of portable telescopes?
1. Refractor Telescopes
Refractor telescopes, or refracting telescopes, are the most common type of portable telescopes, especially due to the fact that they are compact and easy to move. Compared to larger, reflecting telescopes that are meant for home use, these are more lightweight, too.
These telescopes are incredibly useful for watching the sky in highly polluted areas. The downside is that they do need significant cooling times, and might not be as precise as reflecting telescopes.
2. Reflecting Telescopes
Reflecting telescopes will normally have a larger aperture compared to refractor telescopes, making them more appropriate for viewing planets, but they’re also great for deep-sky viewing. The resolutions are normally higher, but you will get an upside-down image, and they’re also not the best for portability.
3. Catadioptric Telescopes
Catadioptric telescopes use lenses that combine refraction and reflection, usually with the help of curved mirrors. These telescopes are normally regarded as the versatile option, as they can do both planetary viewings as well as more detailed viewing.
Most of the best portable telescopes will be refractor telescopes.
What is the Best Aperture for Telescope?
A very important aspect of choosing the best portable telescope is to choose the one with the best aperture. Apertures will vary in size – normally between 70mm and 90mm, but sometimes more or even less.
The size represents the diameter of the lens of the mirror. Aperture will collect light, and the better it is capable of collecting light, the better the picture will be. And the wider the aperture is, the better the image will be.
What is a Good Telescope Magnification?
Another crucial component is how many eyepieces the portable telescope has – the more, the better. Some have three, which seems to be the sweet spot for portable telescopes.
The magnification rate of the eyepiece also matters. Most come with the magnification of 24X, although some offer much more than that – 60X or even 120X. More magnification allows you to see the stars closer.
What is a Good Focal Ratio for a Telescope?
Focal ratio is another important feature. It’s recommended that you choose one with the best ratio so that you’ll be able to use it for longer. Small ratios represent a wider viewing field and a brighter image, while higher numbers represent a narrower field but better magnification.
Focal ratios are represented like this: f/5.7 (the number is the ratio). The number represents the ratio between the focal length and the aperture. So if you’re aiming for better magnification, a higher focal ratio is better.
Why Size, Portability, and Ease-of-Use are Important?
When choosing the best portable telescope, one of the most important things to consider is just how easy it is to use. And in this category, we can include the type of mount they have, how foldable they are, and if we are able to carry it with us easily.
For portable telescopes, you want a small, lightweight telescope that is still powerful enough for a satisfying experience. The type of mount is also important – it gives you the stability to produce better images. You can choose between equatorial mounts and altazimuth mounts – the first is more expensive, but the second is more compact.
A good portable telescope isn’t complete without a good case to carry it in. Soft cases are the preferred option for travelers, normally.
How Much Do Portable Telescopes Cost?
Lastly, the price. Portable telescopes will vary greatly in price. However, you will normally have to spend slightly more to get higher quality. But the great news is that there are many great affordable options for beginners, too.
You can expect to pay anywhere between $80 and $1000 or even more. However, we’ve chosen the best products for your budget here.
So with all that in mind, let’s take a look at the best portable telescope options available at the moment.
The 5 Best Portable Telescope
1. Gskyer AZ90600 Telescope 600x90mm Astronomical Refractor Telescope
Gskyer is a well-known company that produces some of the best portable telescopes on the market. And the AZ90600 refractor telescope is arguably the best choice you can make if you want a good portable telescope that will allow you to take high-quality images. It comes with a 600mm focal length, a 90mm aperture, and a focal ratio of f/6.7.
Firstly, you’re getting a lot for the asking price. The telescope comes with 3 additional eyepieces with different magnifications (24X, 60X, 120X). Also, you will get one 3X Barlow lens, which will add the magnifying power to each eyepiece. This will allow you to capture quite detailed pictures of the sky and the stars – just place your camera onto the telescope and create stunning images.
And even if you are a beginner telescope user, you’ll get to grips with this gadget in no time. You don’t need any additional tools that are significantly expensive.
Why This is the Best Portable Telescope for Astrophotography?
We consider this product to be the best portable telescope for astrophotography. Why? Because it offers an amazing scope with a 90mm aperture, 600mm focal length, and an impressive focal ratio of f/6.7. Plus, you’re getting three additional eyepieces that will allow you to adjust the magnification of the telescope.
Plus, you’re getting a very nice aluminum stand that will provide you with plenty of stability. The height of the tripod is adjustable (from 31.5” to 49”), which is another great feature to have in portable telescopes. You’re getting a very complete package for an affordable price.
2. Gskyer 70mm Aperture 400mm AZ Mount Refracting Telescope
The Gskyer AZ40070 is a fantastic choice for beginners and kids alike. If you’re looking to get into astrophotography or just star gazing in general, and you have no prior experience, we highly recommend that you check out this product.
We think that it offers more than enough for someone who’s looking to get started. With the 400mm focal length, 70mm aperture, and f/5.7 focal ratio, this telescope will allow you to observe planets and get a very clear picture. You’ll also get two additional eyepieces, which will allow you to vary the magnifications.
Why This is the Best Portable Telescope for Beginners
The biggest advantage that this product has over the rest is its ease-of-use and portability. Even if you’re a beginner or if you’re looking for a gift for your kid, you simply can’t go wrong with this telescope.
Lenses are easily swapped, so you don’t need to have the experience to do that. And the stand itself is made from aluminum and is highly adjustable, which makes it easier for your children to see and also for beginners to easily set it up any way they want it. Plus, you get a nice, soft bag that will allow you to carry the product with you easily.
It only takes a few minutes to set everything up, and you’re ready to watch the stars. Plus, it’s very affordable, which is crucial for a beginner product.
3. Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ Refractor Telescope
The Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ refractor telescope offers a lot for the money asked – it is perhaps one of the more complete options that you can currently get. Primarily a portable telescope, this product will serve you very well for watching the sky as well as for observing terrestrial targets from a long distance.
With the 70mm optic, you’ll get a very good quality image from the telescope. It’s perhaps one of the best portable telescopes that you can get for observing planets. But it’s a very good portable telescope that’s very convenient and easy to use. With the retractable and adjustable telescope stand, you can easily adjust it to your needs.
Additionally, you’ll get two eyepieces in the packages, a star diagonal, a travel tripod, and a red dot finder scope. Plus, the telescope offers a free astronomy piece of software that will allow you to track the sky straight from your phone.
Why This is the Best Portable Telescope for Watching Planets
The scope of the telescope is powerful enough to allow you to watch the planets and the moon in great detail. It’s also a great telescope for observing larger and brighter Messier objects, such as galaxies.
The lens scope and quality is quality enough for a very satisfying and quality watching experience, whether you want to watch planets, the Moon, or other objects on the sky. Plus, you can easily use it for watching other terrestrial targets, too.
4. Gskyer Telescope 80mm AZ Refractor Telescope
Here’s another great option from Gskyer that’s very similar to the other two products on this list from the same company. This one is particularly useful if you want to have additional eyepieces in the package, and if you’re looking for a high-quality portable telescope that you and your family will be able to enjoy.
The telescope is incredibly convenient to use, mainly thanks to the easy setup and uncomplicated use and changing of the eyepieces. You don’t have to be an expert to use this telescope. Plus, you’ll be able to carry it with you anywhere you go, as it’s highly compact and easy to set up.
You’ll get the most out of the telescope if you use it outdoors; however, you can always use it indoors, too, and you’ll still get a very good level of quality when it comes to using the scope. For watching planets, galaxies, and distant objects, the telescope is one of the best options to go with.
If you have a kid that wants to watch the stars or if you’re a beginner and have no prior experience with telescopes, then this one is the one to pick. And if you’re constantly on the go, even better.
5. Orion 10034 GoScope II
Now here’s a product that you will find incredibly useful if you’re constantly on the go: the Orion 10034 GoScope II is one of the best portable telescope options you can choose from at the moment. Thanks to its highly compact design and lightweight that you can just grab it, assemble it, watch the stars, and disassemble it without too much hassle.
Carrying the telescope around is made easy with the rugged, high-quality backpack you get in the package. Plus, the image quality you get from the telescope is still very good. With the 400mm focal length scope, there is more than enough to like about the image quality. Although the product is also incredibly useful for watching the scenery during the daytime.
If you don’t have too much experience with telescopes, worry not: this telescope is incredibly easy to use, highly compact, and very easy to assemble and disassemble. With the 5×24 finder scope mounted on top of the telescope, aiming and finding the right targets is simple. You’ll also get two additional eyepieces (25mm and 10mm).
And you’ll also get adjustability with this telescope, thanks to the compact tripod that will adjust to different heights – from 17.75” to 43.5”. Plus, the product is very affordable and represents a low-risk option for those who are looking to get into portable telescopes and astrophotography.
There are many great portable telescopes out there on the market, although we clearly believe that the Gskyer AZ90600 retractable telescope represents the best option in terms of quality, price, and ease-of-use. If we compare it to other products, we believe that it allows us to take by far the best images of the sky, and we’ll also get a much clearer picture of the stars.
It’s highly compact, too, so you can take it anywhere you go with you. And with the three additional eyepieces, it’s very adjustable so that you can use different magnifying scopes. Of course, the other products on the list are also great.
The best portable telescope for beginners is, in our opinion, the Gskyer AZ70400 retractable telescope, while the best portable telescope for watching planets is the Celestron AstroMaster AZ telescope.