Dobsonian telescopes – Buying guide & Comparison
Whether you’re looking for the best Dobsonian telescope for beginners or a high-end version for advanced users, searching the market for the right product can be intimidating. Not only do you have a plethora of brands and models to choose from, but each and every telescope comes with a load of features, and comparing all of these can be extremely time-consuming. Because we know how valuable time is, we have decided to compile a list of top rated telescopes so that you get to select from the most highly-acclaimed items. Our top pick is the Orion SkyQuest XT12g. While one of the more expensive telescopes, this model comes with a large 12-inch aperture with impressive light-gathering abilities, a long 1500mm focal length as well as a GoTo computer motorized mount, quality focusers and two eyepieces. If this product is unavailable, then the Orion StarBlast 6 is also a good choice.
Our Top Choice
This model features a 12-inch aperture that is able to gather a large amount of light from the night sky and ensure bright images of stars and planets. The 1500mm focal length brings close-ups of your favorite cosmic objects, while the focal ratio of f/4.9 works great to offer a wide field of view that makes the overall experience better.
Since this telescope is sturdily built, it’s a rather heavy device, so not anyone will be able to easily carry it around. You should make sure that you can lift it yourself, or that someone who can joins you.
Once aligned, you’ll have a great time using this telescope, especially since it features the SkyQuest XT12g that can easily locate and track objects for you.
Thanks to the 5.9-inch aperture, you won’t need to worry about the amount of light this telescope can collect and, therefore, about the quality of the visuals rendered. Finding and tracking cosmic objects is also easy enough given the EZ Finder II feature integrated. Plus, the 2 Sirius Plossl eyepieces offer a flexible magnification.
This model doesn’t include a tripod or any other type of mount, so you can either use a table for this, or look for a suitable additional device that can help you get the results you need.
Overall, this telescope is easy to set up and use, offering amazing views of the Moon and of other planets, so you can surely keep it in mind.
The S11700 is one of those models that boast an excellent performance at a low price. The innovative design includes an 8-inch aperture and a 1200mm focal length that offers a medium field of view. The collapsible construction means you can easily fold it into a compact shape, while the rocker-mount ensures a smooth operation.
The thing to keep in mind about this model is that it might not be suitable for someone who is just getting the hang of this hobby. Since it might be a bit too complex, you can look at other models if needed.
The stable and smooth operation of this device, as well as the numerous features included, mean that you should give it a try and enjoy quality observations.
Finding a telescope that’s fit for your preferred celestial targets as well as budget is not that easy, especially considering the dozens of models on the market, many of them coming from reputable brands. There are things you must consider, such as light gathering abilities, usability, weight, as well as other factors that will affect performance.
The importance of a wide aperture
Telescopes come with a variety of apertures both wide and narrow, and what you choose will depend on your viewing preferences. A large aperture is a must if you want bright images with lots of details in them. The best Dobsonian reflector will have an aperture of at least 10 or 12 inches.
However, if you don’t want the highest resolution possible and are looking for something more affordable or lightweight, then a model with a smaller aperture should still suffice as long as you get the right accessories such as focusers and eyepieces.
A bit about magnification
If magnification is important to you, then you want a long focal length to obtain close-ups of distant objects, and you also want eyepieces to give you versatility on your observations and higher magnification powers.
The good thing about eyepieces is that there are many focal lengths for sale that you can choose from and add later on to make your device more versatile and your observations more interesting. Usual magnification powers are 10x, 20x and 40x, although you can get much higher than that. Just make sure you don’t exceed the maximum usable magnification as that could dramatically lower the viewing quality.
Ease of use
The more complex is the model you’re looking at, the more dials, buttons, knobs, and caps you’ll need to learn to control. While this can be great in the long term, it could curb your enthusiasm at the beginning.
If you’re just starting out, you could try a telescope that has a simpler functioning mechanism so that you don’t have to turn half a dozen dials before you can begin admiring the night sky. You can learn to align the telescope to stars you already know first, improve your focusing abilities with a simple Crayford-style focuser and practice on the most popular constellations. You could also opt for a computerized module which would make things easier in the beginning, thanks to the included data on thousands of celestial bodies.
When looking for a good Dobsonian telescope, you also need to have a budget in mind. That way you can balance all the features and properties of telescope models and choose the one which makes more sense to you. If you love traveling, then a cheaper telescope that’s also lighter might be a better choice than a high-end model that costs quite a bit and is more difficult to carry.
You can always buy accessories later on, so have that in mind before overspending. You can get away with a telescope and a couple of eyepieces in the beginning, and upgrade it after you’ve learned the basics.
5 Best Dobsonian Telescopes (Reviews) in 2019
Whether you’re an amateur or a seasoned stargazer, finding a suitable telescope with all the features you need while also ensuring that it fits within your budget can be a daunting task. The good news is that we’ve scoured the internet to bring you comprehensive Dobsonian telescope reviews so that you get to choose the perfect model while also saving time.
1. Orion 10136 SkyQuest XT12g GoTo Dobsonian Telescope
This Dobsonian telescope features a large 12-inch aperture that can collect a large amount of light from the night sky and provide you with bright images of planets and stars.
The large focal length of 1500mm will bring you close-ups of your favorite nebulae while the focal ratio of f/4.9 will give you a wide field of view so that you can admire celestial bodies in all their splendor.
With the SkyQuest XT12g you get a computerized GoTo module which can easily locate and track objects for you, so you don’t waste time and start your astronomy observations immediately. You also get to benefit from a database containing information on 42,000 celestial objects.
This quality telescope also comes with a dual-speed 2-inch Crayford focuser, a 1.25-inch 12.5mm Plossl eyepiece and a 2-inch 28mm DeepView eyepiece, an EZ Finder II reflex sight for easy tracking, and a collimation cap.
This item has a big aperture, and it comes provided with a system that can help you locate and track no less than 42,000 celestial objects with just the touch of a button.
Because of its 12″ aperture, this unit can gather enough light, and it allows its owners to view many nebulae and star clusters clearly.
For a swift and easy assembly, this device comes with the GoTo system and all the necessary hardware pre-installed on its base.
In order to operate it, this device requires a 12V power supply that you have to purchase independently.
When compared to other similar devices that are currently available, it could be said that this model is somewhat expensive. Still, its buyers claim that it is worth the extra dollars.
It has been said that this option is rather large and heavy. However, it does come provided with numerous innovative features.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($1799.99)
2. Orion 10016 StarBlast 6 Astro Reflector Telescope
This is a versatile telescope that comes with all the features and accessories expected from a consumer model.
The StarBlast 6 can collect a good amount of light, thanks to its 5.9-inch aperture. Finding targets and aligning the device is easy enough with the EZ Finder II red-dot sight, allowing for effortless aiming in any direction you wish to make observations.
With the 2 included Sirius Plossl eyepieces, you get flexible magnification to suit your needs, providing you with a low power magnification for a wider view as well as a 75x power with the 10mm eyepiece. The 1.25-inch eyepiece rack offers you a convenient way to quickly switch between eyepieces so that you can make adjustments on the fly, while also enabling the use of Barlow lenses.
The navigation knob is easy to handle so that you can point or re-position the telescope to view your preferred celestial objects in no time.
This fun alternative has a point-and-view tabletop construction, and it is currently preferred by both beginners and seasoned astronomers.
What makes it stand out is its easy-to-use menu and its substantial 6″ aperture. Consequently, you can use this option to observe details of the Moon as well as galaxies and star clusters.
This model is compact in size and easy to transport in between locations. So, it is a good purchase if you love to travel.
Lastly, the unit comes supplied with a 5mm and a 10mm Sirius Plossl 1.25″ telescope eyepiece and with a special software that can help you locate various celestial bodies.
There have been unfortunate situations when some users received models that had missing pieces. If this is the case, be sure to contact the seller.
One buyer noted that the tabletop design of the item makes it difficult to use by adults. Still, this is a personal judgment.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($339.99)
3. Sky-Watcher Collapsible Dobsonian Telescope
With an innovative design, this telescope boasts high performance at a low price. This model features an 8-inch aperture and a 1200mm focal length for a medium field of view that can be good at observing close planets, nebulae, and galaxies.
Thanks to its collapsible construction, you can easily fold this telescope into a compact shape which makes it extremely easy to carry around, so that you get to enjoy remote deep space observations anytime.
Aiming at your target objects is easily achieved with the rocker-mount which also provides stability and smooth operation with the heavy-duty Teflon bearings.
This telescope comes with a 2-inch Crayford focuser, 10mm and 25mm Plossl eyepieces, as well as an 8×50 RA viewfinder. You don’t need any tools to set up this telescope so that you can start viewing the night sky in no time.
This telescope has a collapsible tube design, and it is said to be easy to transport and store when you are not using it.
Because the model also incorporates an 8×50 RA viewfinder, it won’t be difficult for its owners to find various celestial objects with it.
This Dobsonian-style Newtonian option has a 1200 mm focal length, and it comes fitted with a Crayford-style focuser and with a 1.25″ adaptor. As expected, a 25mm and a 10 mm 1.25″ eyepiece are included in the deal.
For extra safety, the item includes a solid rocker-mount that features Teflon bearings and a tension clutch.
Although he liked the product, one buyer claimed that the collimation screws for the secondary mirror of the device were screwed on too tightly.
Because it is rather sizeable, the seller ships the model in two packages. Therefore, there is a risk that you won’t receive all its parts at once.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($428)
4. Celestron 21023 Cometron FirstScope Telescope
This telescope is ideal for amateur astronomers wishing to start admiring planets, comets, and distant galaxies.
Although small and compact, this model offers good quality thanks to its 3-inch aperture that can capture bright images with a good amount of detail. With a f/3.95 focal ratio, you get a wide angle view of the night sky and have a greater perspective of cosmic interactions.
You can further magnify objects with the 2 Kellner eyepieces and can find your favorite spots with ease thanks to the 5×24 finderscope.
Weighing only 4.3 pounds, this telescope is so light that you can put it in your backpack and carry it around anywhere without a significant burden on your shoulders. You don’t need any tools to set up this instrument so that you can go straight to observing the night sky.
This compact alternative has a fast focal ratio that supplies the users with a wide field of view that is perfect if you intend to use the telescope for observing comets or star clusters.
Because it is light in weight and rather portable, this model can be gifted to somebody that enjoys traveling and stargazing.
This item has a simple design and, as a result, it is not at all difficult to use by those that have little experience when it comes to handling such a device.
Moreover, this model has a no-tool setup. Therefore, you can assemble it in minutes. Also, 2 Kellner eyepieces and a finderscope are included in the deal.
It has been noted that the images that this option can provide its users are fuzzy and distorted. Because of this, some do not recommend it to beginners.
One owner claimed that this model is only usable at low power for large objects. For instance, he says that it will not show clear views of Saturn’s rings.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($47.24)
If you’re looking for an affordable telescope that’s ideal for amateur stargazers, then you can’t go wrong with the Celestron FirstScope.
Made from quality materials, the reflector tube has a 3-inch aperture to provide you with detailed views of lunar craters and plains as well as further away celestial objects such as Saturn and Jupiter.
Built with usability in mind, this device is easy to use, and the solid mount offers good stability as well as maneuverability to target the preferred stars and planets in no time. This tabletop telescope will fit anywhere and look good even when you’re not using it.
You can easily focus and obtain sharp images of your favorite planets and nebulae with the adjustment knob, while the 4mm and 20mm eyepieces will increase power, the latter providing a whopping 75x magnification. The entire telescope set is lightweight and easy to transport so you know you can take it on your outdoor adventures.
This model features a 76mm reflector optical tube, and it is generally regarded as a perfect entry-level telescope for beginners.
Because the unit is portable and light in weight, many recommend it to those that like to travel a lot. Also, it is easy to store in between uses.
The FirstScope 21024-CGL is known for being easy to operate, and it is said to fit those that have troubles when it comes to navigating the night sky.
What is more, because of its fun design, this item will surely catch your attention.
Some inexperienced users claimed that it is somewhat difficult to use this telescope to locate celestial bodies. Still, this might have something to do with their level of experience and not the actual quality of the device.
It has been pointed out that the instructions that the seller provides its clients with are not necessarily easy to follow.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($40.99)