Telescope mounts – Buying guide & Comparison
Having a stable platform for your telescope is essential to getting quality views of your favorite planets and stars, so you probably know you need to get one. However, finding the best telescope mount, with the plethora of models, plate types, and features can be quite tough, let alone time-consuming. The good news is that we’ve scoured the internet and selected the ones which we think offer the most for the price so that you get to pick from the very best. Our top choice is the Orion AstroView EQ Mount & EQ-3M Motor. It is a sturdy mount with a compact design, equipped with an equatorial dovetail plate for easy mounting, an incorporated EQ-3M motor for smooth tracking of celestial objects, as well as all the controls you need to enjoy your astronomy observations to the fullest. In the unfortunate event that it is sold out, the Orion SkyView Pro Equatorial GoTo should probably be your second choice.
Before you start reading on the specifics of our top-rated models, there are a few things you should probably know about telescope mounts. First of all, you need to make sure that you get a model that can support the weight of your telescope. Then you need to take into consideration which type you want, with or without a motor, with or without a computerized module, small and compact or large and stable, etc.
Look at maximum supported weight
The first thing you need to make sure of is that the mount can support your telescope. Look at the maximum accepted weight, and also leave some margin in case you start getting accessories for your telescope. Large eyepieces, finder scopes, attachable motors, different plates, these can weigh quite a bit when combined. So you probably want to go for a platform that can hold a few pounds extra at a minimum, so that you don’t lose stability when adding accessories on your telescope.
Sophisticated or simple?
Telescopes come in many different sizes and levels of complexity. Some are simple to use while others have a plethora of knobs, buttons, and dials which provide you with maximum control and precision but can make the telescope difficult to handle, especially if you’re new at this. You probably want to balance complexity with ease of use, so picking a model that’s fit for your experience is best.
However, a good thing about modern telescopes is that you get to equip them with motors, computerized modules, and other gadgets. These can help you track celestial objects faster and easier or take you on an automatic guiding tour and give you info on tens of thousands of planets and stars. So if you don’t want to be stuck with a model that will become limited after you’ve learned a bit more about astronomy, you can get one that’s designed to accept all sorts of accessories, so that you can upgrade your telescope stand in the future.
Choosing between portability and stability
Another important thing you need to consider is whether you want a lightweight tripod that you can take with you anywhere you go, anytime, or a rock-solid sophisticated platform that is meant for serious use. The former will provide you with more opportunities for astronomy observations, since you’ll get to use it more often even when you’re traveling, camping in the outdoors, etc.
However, if you value quality and precision, then the stand will invariably be much heavier. You won’t be able to carry it around every time, but you could trust it to keep your telescope steady even under heavy winds and ensure that you get crystal-clear views of your favorite celestial objects with no vibrations. The complex stands also come with more controls that make for more precise locating and tracking.
Top telescope mounts reviews in 2018
If you’re looking for a stable mount for your telescope, but have little time to read the dozens of telescope mount reviews out there, then you’ve landed in the perfect place. We’ve compared the technical specs and features of some of the best models and have come up with a definitive list of the top 5 you should definitely look into.
Orion AstroView EQ Mount & EQ-3M Motor
If you’re looking for a solid platform for your telescope which also comes with smooth tracking aides and extra accessories, then the Orion AstroView EQ Mount is probably your best bet.
With a built-in mini-motor, an equatorial system and great electronic controls, you’re bound to enjoy amazing cosmic observations free of frustration.
This model comes with a dovetail attachment as well as a bonus 8-inch dovetail plate that will make it easier to attach or rapidly change telescopes with a few simple movements. You get to use any telescope weighing no more than 12 pounds.
The Orion AstroView EQ Mount comes with azimuth controls and slow-motion controls worm gears.
This mount also comes with an EQ-3M Motor which will be able to track celestial bodies automatically so that you don’t have to struggle keeping objects in your field of view. You can easily control the motor with a disengage clutch and hand controllers.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($329.99)
Orion SkyView Pro Equatorial GoTo 24709
Designed for both amateur and experienced astronomers, the Orion SkyView Pro Equatorial GoTo is a good telescope mount that comes with everything you need to start observing the planets and stars on a versatile and stable platform.
Benefiting from the GoTo technology, this model comes with a computerized module which includes extensive information on 42,900 celestial objects.
Able to support up to 20 pounds, this sturdy mount can handle most lightweight telescopes while being very light itself.
You get a head that’s metal-only, with 360-degree gears, providing you with smooth maneuverability every time. With the stainless steel legs, you can also ensure excellent viewing conditions with minimum vibration.
Thanks to the equatorial mount, you also get to nullify Earth’s rotation, while the azimuth adjustment will provide you with fine controls to easily locate the objects you wish to observe.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($829.99)
Orion SkyView Pro Equatorial 9829
When it comes to the best mount for telescope, the Orion SkyView Pro Equatorial is at the top of the list, especially in terms of heavy telescopes.
This sturdy mount can support weights of up to 20 pounds, making it ideal for most telescope models up to the professional category.
You can attach any telescope with ease thanks to the quick release dovetail plate. You also get fine controls to point your telescope with accuracy through the declination and right ascension knobs.
The metallic head has 360-degree worm gears while also featuring setting circles of 86 millimeters each for easy location of any celestial body.
The Orion SkyView Pro Equatorial also comes with two counterweights of 4 and 7.5 pounds for extra stability, with the entire setup weighs only 35 pounds. This model is also compatible with a DC motor which can provide you with automatic and effortless tracking of your favorite planets, stars, and nebulae.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($296.99)
Orion Atlas EQ-G Computerized GoTo 9996
The Orion Atlas EQ-G Computerized GoTo is one of the sturdiest telescope mounts on the market. This heavy-duty tripod and mount can support an amazing 42 pounds, capable of providing stability and support to all but the heaviest telescopes on the market.
It weighs itself 54 pounds, equipped with everything any passionate astronomer would need to track the celestial bodies in space.
This model comes with 2 internal DC motors which provide 9 slew rates as well as 3 tracking rates: solar, sidereal and lunar. Also included is a polar-axis with its own lighting and two counterweights.
The Orion Atlas EQ-G comes with a GoTo computerized module which can provide you with information on any of the 42,900 celestial bodies in its database.
You can also take an automatic tour and let the module and the DC motors provide you with a guide to our visible cosmos.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($1499.99)
Orion Min-EQ Tabletop Equatorial 9055
The Orion Min-EQ Tabletop Equatorial 9055 is one of the smallest telescope mounts you can find for sale.
Able to support small telescopes weighing no more than 7 pounds, this small-yet-sturdy mount is a great addition to anyone wishing to travel light and admire stars and planets while on the go.
This model comes with an equatorial mount plate that you can use to attach your telescope. You also get a ¼-inch adapter, as well as dual slow-motion cables and latitude controls.
One of the great advantages of the Orion Min-EQ Tabletop Equatorial is its portability since it weighs 10 pounds and has a compact design, measuring only 14 inches in height. What this means is that you can just grab it and put it inside your backpack – and you’re set to go.
You can ensure that you get a stable platform anytime while also benefiting from its easy-to-use controls.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($69.99)