best rated telescopes

7 Best Telescopes Under $100 Revealed

Stargazing is a favorite hobby among people who are into astronomy. Aside from simply looking at constellations, astronomy enthusiasts would like to see stars up close using telescopes. Telescopes’ functionality and features, however, are enough indicators of their expensive prices. Luckily, several telescopes under $100 are available and ideal for beginners and regular enthusiasts. Seven of these models are the following:

Best Telescope Under $100

Best Features
User Experience
Price Level
Our Rate
Celestron COSMOS FirstScope Optical tube designed with nebula wrap; features primary 76mm mirror for gathering better lighting & improved visibility; tabletop design with Dobsonian-style stand; comes with Kellner eyepieces & works great for beginners GoodMid-Range4.0 / 5
Orion SkyScanner Features metallic red wrap & perfect for beginners; compact & lightweight - weighs around 6 lbs; features 100mm aperture & 400mm focal length + sets up in 10 mins Very GoodMid-Range4.1 / 5
Celestron 21035 Travelscope Designed for stargazers & comes with adjustable tripod; refractory-type telescope with 70mm optical tube delivers good images - uses 400mm focal lenses; body comes with plastic parts making it lighter & great for travelling GoodMid-Range3.9 / 5
Orion SpaceProbe 3 Optical tube comes in 3” aperture & reflector design; features 700mm focal length for crisp images; somewhat expensive but a good investmentVery GoodMid-Range4.2 / 5
Celestron 21037 PowerSeeker Product is similar to refractory-type Travelscope & comes with tripods; features longer optical tube that offers quality imaging; diameter measures 70mm - ideal for beginners; also features 3x optical zoom with focal length of 700 mm + Finderscope Very GoodHigh4.3 / 5
Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector-type that guarantees top-caliber optics; produces quality images of star clusters, nebulae & moon; includes 2 eyepieces & comes with 4.5” aperture Very GoodVery High4.4 / 5
Orion FunScope 76 Features 76mm optical tube with focal length of 1 ft; delivers high quality images & meant for beginners on a budget; compact body provides good field of view & can tweak images using 10mm & 20mm eyepieces ExcellentMid-Range4.5 / 5

7. Celestron COSMOS FirstScope

Celestron 21024 FirstScope Telescope
List Price: $49.95
Price: $49.95
Price Disclaimer

COSMOS FirstScope possesses the most fun design among all Celestron models. Its optical tube is designed with a nebula wrap fitting for its name. This nebula wrap is a special edition feature that makes this model a stand out among other telescopes for beginners. In fact, this wrap alone is enough to make it look expensive despite its really affordable price.

One of its most noticeable feature is the primary mirror measuring 76mm. This feature lets this small telescope to gather better lighting for improved visual quality. Through this feature, COSMOS will give users high quality images of celestial elements. This model’s outlook is also better and can be placed on a tabletop with its Dobsonian-style stand. Through this stand, users will be confident that the telescope will stay in place and guarantee that it will work properly. It’s great for beginners who would like to get utmost quality from an affordable telescope.

The model also comes with Kellner eyepieces that guarantee better viewing capabilities. Depending on the deals you’ll find online, you may get other accessories that will get you started in using a telescope for your hobby. Prices starts from $50 and up.

6. Orion SkyScanner

Flaunting its metallic red wrap, SkyScanner is also a good model to obtain for beginner users who are after high quality telescope design. It’s one of Orion’s tabletop models, but with lightweight features for easy transporting. It weighs around 6 pounds and with compact body that makes it easy transport or store in small storage spaces. Due to SkyScanner’s design, users can easily set it up within 10 minutes and they will be viewing celestial elements in no time.

The optical tube comes with 100mm aperture features and 400mm focal length. These features work together with three eye pieces for better image magnification even at a distance. Many users are able to view celestial bodies despite darkness and pollutants.

Although this model can carried around for traveling, it doesn’t come with the same travel accessories that come with Travelscope. Users have to purchase them separately to bring this telescope to a different location.

5. Celestron 21035 Travelscope

Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope
List Price: $69.95
Price: $59.94
You Save: $10.01
Price Disclaimer

This Celestron model is made for stargazing lovers on the go. Stargazing is way better when done outside, which is why Celestron made 21035 Travelscope model withstand outdoor condition.

Unlike COSMOS, Travelscope comes with a tripod that can be used for outdoor viewing. The adjustable tripod lets users adjust its height for preferred viewing height and comfort while viewing celestial elements.

This model is a refractory type telescope with matching 70mm optical tube. The optical tube may be lower than COSMOS, but it definitely delivers good celestial images. Quality images are due to the 400mm focal lenses. The entire body also comes with plastic parts, which make it lighter and ideal for traveling around. Moreover, utilizing plastic materials contributed to its cheaper price.

Travelscope comes with different accessories like the 45-degree image prism working as it should in producing correct and clear images. Another accessory is a travel bag since this product is made for traveling. This bag protects all the pieces while traveling.

4. Orion SpaceProbe 3

While other models are guaranteed to be sold under $100, SpaceProbe 3 may cost more in other stores. Some stores sell this model at around $140, making it one of the more expensive ones among this list. Nevertheless, shop round and you can easily find good deals that will kickstart your new hobby.

Despite its price, this telescope offers unique advantages that will work for every amateur users. Its optical tube comes with 3-inch aperture and reflector design. Combining these features with its 700mm focal length gives way to crisp images regardless of their distance. Users can get their needed images by using two available eyepieces that come with the package.

If there’s one downside in using this telescope, it’s the challenging setup that people experience in using this device for viewing. Many buyers reported that they need around a good hour to set it up properly. But if you have a budget of over $100 and don’t worry about setup, SpaceProbe 3 is indeed a good product to purchase.

3. Celestron 21037 PowerSeeker

Also known as 21037 PowerSeeker 70EQ, this Celestron model is considered as among the best telescopes under $100, which is hard to come by for this price. This product is similar to Travelscope being a refractory type telescope and having tripods as an accessory. But unlike COSMOS and Travelscope, PowerSeeker has longer optical tube, making it a larger telescope than the aforementioned models.

This model has boosted feature that offers quality imaging. The refractor’s diameter measures 70mm, an ideal measurement for beginners. Get top caliber images at good quality with its 3x optical zoom feature. This feature lets users view celestial bodies at greater distance without distorting overall image quality. Focal length measures at 700 mm and powered with Finderscope. Combining all these features made the product receive positive feedbacks from customers, with them claiming to see Saturn and its rings and Jupiter’s moons at better quality.

PowerSeeker also comes with numerous accessories like durable and adjustable aluminum tripod and two eyepieces.

2. Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro

  • Note – Typically costs over $200, but is a worthwhile inclusion in the list for those with a slightly larger budget.

Just like other Orion models, many users praise StarBlast 4.5 Astro. This telescope is a reflector type device that guarantees top caliber optics in viewing celestial bodies. Not only do this telescope magnify good images of Saturn and its rings, it also has features that produce quality images of star clusters, nebulae and moon.

Features that deliver quality images include two eyepieces and 4.5-inch aperture. Its eyepieces come with Kellner quality features and in two types: the 6mm and 17mm eyepieces. Combining both features give way to images that set this model apart from competitors.

Another thing that consumers like about this product is its easy setup. It comes pre-assembled, so buyers can use it out of the box.

1. Orion FunScope 76

Orion FunScope 76 is one of the most recommended telescopes for amateurs at a price. Its 76mm optical tube gives a decent aperture with focal length of only a foot. Although it may not gather as much light as cosmos, it still delivers high quality images meant for beginners who are on a budget. Despite its shorter focal length, it still gives good field of view that satisfies many first-time users. They can also tweak images by using the 10mm and 20mm eyepieces that may be sold separately or come with the package depending on sellers’ offers. With its compact body, it can be brought to different areas for better viewing and combined with other accessories available separately.


Overall, it’s easy to get telescopes under $100 by referring to this list. However, be sure to shop around to get these devices at good prices. Some sellers offer them at way expensive prices. Also, check out all available accessories that come with the telescopes to get the most value for your money.

Telescope Buying Guide

The telescope is one of the best inventions ever made by mankind. It lets you view objects that cannot be seen by the naked eye. The telescope’s design has evolved through the years, with three major types for you to choose from. If you feel overwhelmed by the number of telescope options available today, this buying guide will help you make the right purchase. All the details in this guide will save you time and effort, so you can have your own telescope in no time.

Knowing the Three Basic Types

There are three major types of telescopes: reflector, refractor, and compound. These three are capable of gathering light and showing images in their own different ways. It is important to become familiar with them as it will help you determine which telescope will best suit your needs.

Refractor Telescope

This is the most common type of telescope. It has a large lens at the front that allows light to pass directly into the mirror at the back, and then into the eyepiece. This type has a simple design that is user-friendly. It also works well in viewing earth objects.

The good thing about the refractor type is its sealed tube that protects the optics, as well as its durable and maintenance-free design. However, this type is not ideal for faint objects. It also has a lesser value than the reflector type, and its body tends to be bulky and heavy.

Compound Telescope

This type of telescope features two mirrows and a lens. One of the mirrors can be found in the front, while the other is in the back. Also known as the Schmidt-Cassegrain or catadioptric telescope, this one works well in viewing faint and earth objects. It comes with a sealed tube to protect the optics.

Astrophotography enthusiasts will surely prefer this type of telescope. However, this type is usually more expensive. It also has a bulky and large appearance, and the second mirror tends to reduce the brightness.


Reflector telescopes have a mirror at the end of the tube that gathers light before bringing it through another mirror, and then into the eyepiece. This type is perfect for viewing faint objects, but not for earth objects. It is capable of showing high quality images, and has more value than refractors. Another good thing about this type is its lightweight and compact body, making it convenient to carry along. One setback would its open tube that tends to collect dust, which means it will require some maintenance.

Which Type Suits You?

All of the three types of telescopes will do a great job. It is highly recommended that you choose one that matches your viewing needs. If you are still clueless, here are recommendations:

  • Beginners: reflector or refractor
  • Maintenance-free telescope: refractor
  • Viewing earth objects: compound or refractor
  • Viewing faint and deep sky objects: compoundor refractor
  • Best image quality: compound or reflector
  • Best value for money: reflector
  • Astrophotography: compound

Key Features to Look For

There are four important things to look for when buying a telescope: focal length, computer control, magnification, and aperture. Read on to know each one of them.


This is the diameter of the lens or mirror of a telescope. It is the most important factor to determine how much you will see with the device. Generally, the bigger aperture is preferable. A bigger scope will allow more light in to help you see fainter objects. If possible, get a telescope with the biggest aperture that will fit your budget.


Magnification is defined by the telescope’s eyepiece and focal length. The bigger magnification, the better. It determines how big the objects will appear. If you are tight on budget, you can settle with your unit’s eyepiece. You can always make the necessary upgrade later on.

Focal Length

This is the distance between your telescope’s focal point to the mirror or lens. It may not be as important as the aperture, but a longer focal length will make objects appear bigger. It will be wise to purchase a unit with a large focal length and aperture.

Computer Control

Most of today’s telescopes come with a built-in computer control. This feature points the unit automatically to the interesting objects. It is a useful tool that allows you to track down the things that you have been dreaming to see, such as celestial highlights and moving objects. You can choose to manually find the objects that you like, but computer control makes this task easier.

Points to Remember for Beginners

Beginners should adjust their expectations. You are probably hoping to see astonishing images that NASA produces, but these are generated by professional telescopes. This does not mean that you will not be able to appreciate the things that you see through your device. In fact, using the right telescope will give you the chance to see the stars, galaxies, planets, and so much more in great detail. With reasonable expectations, you will appreciate the sky’s wonders through the lens.

Below are more tips that you need to take note when viewing objects through your telescope:

  • The week of the new moon will let you see stars and planets better.
  • Start with objects that are easy to find, like the moon and bright planets.
  • Take advantage of your telescope’s computer control.
  • Use a low magnification setting first to locate objects quickly before switching to a higher setting when needed.
  • Make the focus blurry for a while to help you find stars and planets easier.
  • Weigh down your telescope to make it more stable, and less shaky.
  • Do not look directly into the sun, even with your telescope, or you may go blind.
  • Understand how your device works during the day and night.
  • Use a filter when looking at the moon as it is very bright and can strain your eyes.
  • Avoid buildings, pavements, and other objects that absorb and release heat as it will make the images in your telescope appear less sharp. Look for open areas, particularly one covered in grass, instead.

Looking for the best telescope is not as difficult as you think. Simply follow these tips and tricks to help you narrow down you options, and eventually purchase the right one for you.

About the Author TRS

Our aim at TelescopeReviews.Space is to help you find the perfect telescope for your needs, at the right price. We hope to have helped you today!

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