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 Celestron CG-4 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 2019
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.
This item is perfect in case you need a solid and stable platform for your telescope. It also comes with smooth tracking aids and other accessories.
You will be able to enjoy astonishing cosmic observations due to the built-in mini-motor, an equatorial system, and excellent electronic controls.
The dovetail attachment and the 8-inch dovetail plate makes it easy to quickly change telescopes without any complicated movements. Any telescope up to 12 pounds can be used.
You should know that this mount is equipped with slow-motion controls worm gears and azimuth controls.
The EQ-3M Motor helps you track celestial objects automatically, without struggling to keep the targets in your field of view.
This mount can only be used for small, lightweight telescopes. It is not suitable for larger ones.
Although it is highly appreciated by customers, this model is not the cheapest one in this line of products.Buy from Amazon.com for ($329.99)
This tripod is ideal for any telescope in the Omni XLT Series of which it is part of, and it comes equipped with many different features that will convince you that it is the right option for you. First of all, you will be impressed with the smooth performance this model offers, as the ball bearings installed on both axes will ensure that.
Since it is made from stainless steel, you can expect excellent durability, and it is a great thing that it comes pre-assembled so that you don’t have to do anything for it. A great extra is the accessory tray that will come in handy when you are exploring the night sky or terrestrial objects.
As far as load capacity is concerned, the telescope you’ll be mounting on it should not be heavier than 15 pounds, so you are covered for many options. It works with dovetail mounting bars, and a list of compatible brands is supplied.
Using setting circles and RA and DEC slow-motion controls, this tripod contributes to locating sky objects with great ease.
You will appreciate its smooth performance, as the axes are outfitted with ball bearings that make such a thing possible.
Along with the tripod, you will get an accessory tray that will come in handy when you need to explore the night sky.
The bubble level will ensure that the tripod has good stability even when you are using it on uneven terrain, so you may find this helpful when taking your telescope on trips.
Users like the no-tool setup and the fact that the telescope comes pre-assembled so that no work is needed on their part.
The fact that the tripod is quite heavy can’t be ignored; its weight is 30 pounds, and you must add, on top of that, two counterweights, one of 7 pounds, and one of 4 pounds, for a whopping total weight of 41 pounds.Buy from Amazon.com for ($289)
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.
In case you need a good mount for a heavy telescope, you can definitely trust this model, as it can support weights of up to 20 pounds.
Due to the quick release dovetail plate, you can easily attach any telescope.
The metallic head features setting circles of 86 millimeters and 360-degree worm gears which enable easy location of any celestial object.
This setup weighs 35 pounds out of which two counterweights of 4 and 7.5 pounds for increased stability are included.
You should also know that this model is compatible with a DC motor that can offer you automatic tracking of your favorite stars, planets, and nebulae.
Despite the fact that this is a rock-solid mount, it is a bit heavy, which does not make it the ideal model in case you are on the move a lot.
The brass fitting of the manual knobs that is supposed to press-fit onto the shaft is too tight and very hard to put in place.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.
If you have a telescope of up to 42 pounds, this heavy-duty tripod and mount can definitely support it and also provide a lot of stability.
The product weighs 54 pounds and it is equipped with everything you need in order to start tracking your favorite celestial bodies.
There are 9 slew rates available, as well as three tracking rates (solar, lunar, and sidereal), thanks to the two internal DC motors.
The GoTo computerized module can provide you information about 42,900 celestial objects from its database.
As another cool feature, you can take an automatic tour by allowing the DC motors to provide you with a guide to the visible cosmos.
A few additions could make this product perform better, such as simple labels which indicate what direction is the lock on the clutches, or clearer marks for the home position.
It’s easy to type information wrong, as the controller buttons are too soft.Buy from Amazon.com for ($1329.99)
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.
This mount is one of the smallest available on the market and can support telescopes that do not weigh more than seven pounds. It is ideal for admiring planets while on the go.
The device is equipped with an equatorial mount plate which you can use to attach your telescope.
Since it weighs only 10 pounds, measures 14 inches in height, and has a compact design, this mount is portable so you can take it anywhere with you.
Not only is it a stable platform, but this mount also has very easy-to-use controls.
With this model, you will also receive a 1/4-inch adapter and dual slow-motion cables as well as latitude controls.
It seems that the counterweight which comes with this unit can restrict the movement of the mount as it bumps into the motor housing.
There are customers who consider this table-top mount too heavy.Buy from Amazon.com for ($69.99)
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.
This model was designed for both experienced and amateur astronomers. It has everything you might require to start observing celestial bodies on a stable and versatile platform.
The mount is equipped with the GoTo technology, a computerized module that contains information on 42,900 celestial objects.
Although the product itself is very light, it can support up to 20 pounds.
The head is made from metal and provides stable maneuverability each time, thanks to the 360-degree gears.
Moreover, the stainless steel legs offer superior viewing conditions and minimal vibrations. Also, the azimuth adjustment provides fine controls to easily locate objects.
Although the motor is advertised as having metal gears, it seems that you will actually get plastic gears. No complaints were made regarding the functionality of the mount.
Also, assembling the device is not very difficult but the manual seems to be lacking detailed explanations.