Telescope refractors – Buying guide & Comparison


If you’re short on time and you just want to find the best refractor telescope for beginners or advanced users, this short paragraph should help you get just the model you might require. According to our findings, the Orion 10013 is the one you should give some thought to. This product is a tabletop scope that can help you find out more about the mysteries of the universe. With its assistance, you can take a peek at planets, the moon, as well as bright nebulas and star clusters. As the model boasts a lightweight design, you can even carry it conveniently so that you take your exploring in the great outdoors. Thanks to the 80mm aperture, you can enjoy crisp images as the telescope is capable of collecting about seventy percent more light than a 60mm refractor. If the Orion 10013 is out of stock, you could consider the second best choice, the Orion 9005.


Whether you’re looking for the best refractor telescope for astrophotography or just one you can use during the weekends or every night when you get back home from work or school, the following guide might be of assistance. It’s packed with all the information you need in order to make the right decision. So, give it a try if you have the time.


What’s your purpose?

There are several types of refractors you might want to invest in, but before anything else, you need to set your expectations, needs, and preferences. Some budget-friendly choices make great gifts, especially for children, teenagers, and other first-time users who want to have a chance at exploring the universe.

Digital units are far more expensive than the rest, and that’s because most come equipped with a GPS or are computerized so that you don’t have to set the date, time, longitude and latitude every time you use them.

Portability should also be a priority if you can’t seem to be satisfied with the idea of having a tabletop telescope. Sure, such options are great but only if you don’t plan to go out there and look at the sky when it’s unpolluted by busy city lights. The weight of the telescope also matters, in this sense, as you won’t take any pleasure from carrying a hefty device. Nonetheless, better components are often heavier than those that are cheaper and less usable.


Aperture, focal length, and overall performance

It goes without saying that the specs of a refractor telescope kit matter a lot when it comes to choosing the perfect alternative. You’ll have to look at all of these three we have mentioned in the heading. However, of all, the aperture is that which you should focus on.

A 6-inch scope can allow you to get a clear picture of the moon craters, but a 3-inch one might fail to do the same thing. The fact is that, with a superior aperture, the unit is capable of collecting more light, thus allowing you to see everything clearly and efficiently.


Construction quality

Nothing beats good-quality optics, but you should probably know that already. Even with microscopes, for example, there are cases where you have to sacrifice quality for portability. That’s what makes it so difficult to tell whether or not the unit you’re about to spend your cents on is worth it or not.

One way of ensuring that you don’t risk getting a model with inferior components is to go through some of the best telescope refractor reviews. Also, consider buying a unit that has been manufactured by one of the top brands in the industry, like Celestron, Orion, or Meade Instruments, for instance.

Mounting systems

To get as much value as possible, you might have to check if the option also comes with a mount and a tripod. Either you get an altazimuth, German Equatorial, or motorized type of mount, but you should at least get one of these three. Smooth slow-motion controls are of particular importance if you want to track celestial objects as they are on the move.

The tripod is crucial if you want to go outdoors with your telescope. It might not be the same if you’re considering purchasing a tabletop option. If the latter is what you are bearing in mind, you should at least see whether you can use a tripod with the model, just in case you change your mind later on.


Top telescope refractors reviews in 2019


To make it just a tad easier for you to select a decent model, we have showcased some of the critically acclaimed choices below. If you have the time, be sure to throw an eye over their specs as they’ve garnered the appreciation of most buyers.



Orion 10013


Despite the fact that this model is mostly looked over because of its size, it’s actually rather good at doing what it is supposed to. This tabletop unit comes with a resilient base that’s made to withstand the test of time. The neat thing about the base is that it will offer you the advantage of easy aligning and smooth tracking.

Although it’s advertised as a refractor for beginners, it can meet and even exceed the expectations of some advanced users who are looking for a model that they can place in their living rooms or on their balconies and just watch the sky for minutes on end.

The 80mm aperture of the Orion 10013 will allow you to get a glimpse of the Moon, planets, as well as distant galaxies and cloudy nebulas. In short, the 10013 has a high chance of serving you well, as long as you decide to give it a try.


Buy from for ($149.99)





Orion 9005


If you have nothing against investing a bit more money on a top-notch refractor, perhaps this one might do the trick. The 120mm aperture and the 600mm focal length can allow you to look at beautiful and clear images of a broad variety of celestial objects.

Since the unit comes with an equatorial mount, you won’t find it difficult to track any stars in the sky. The tripod has been made out of good-quality materials, which is why it can both last for a more than decent amount of time and allow you to use it in a variety of situations.

From what we have gathered, it appears as though the 9005 has garnered the appreciation of most of those who have purchased it. Whether you are a casual observer or would simply like to take your stargazing experience to a whole new level, it’s very likely that this model will satisfy your needs.


Buy from for ($599.99)





Celestron Inspire 70AZ


Looking for an entry-level refractor telescope? If that’s so, the Inspire might be just what you’ve been searching for. It stands to reason that its aperture cannot even be compared to that of the other two models we have tackled above. However, it is a reasonably priced alternative that is particularly easy to set up and utilize.

As the unit comes with a focus micrometer, a red LED flashlight, as well as an asymmetrical mount, you’ll be able to enjoy the stability, convenience, and overall lightweight design of this product. The package even includes an accessory tray that you can make use of when you’re getting everything up and running.

Some of the individuals who have decided to invest in the Inspire 70AZ say that they’ve been impressed by the fact that it even comes with a lens cap with a built-in holder for most phones. Many of these buyers have captured images of the moon with the help of their smartphones.


Buy from for ($89)





Celestron 21061


Also a winner in terms of convenience and usability, the 21061 boasts a sturdy tripod that can be adjusted depending on your momentary needs. We all know how important it is to have the perfect tripod height for stargazing. The 70mm aperture of this model is a good choice if you want to look at the moon and the planets, but it might be less impressive compared to that of previously showcased models.

Besides, this unit does have a series of limitations, but it’s still worth the cents. You can even make the most of it by using it for birdwatching and other activities involving terrestrial viewing. You can start using the model right after taking it out of the box as the tripod comes pre-assembled.

As it has been designed with coated glass optics, it’s safe to say that this unit will allow you to look at crisp and clear pictures of your favorite celestial objects.


Buy from for ($116.89)





Orion 10034 


Boasting a lightweight construction, this Orion model allows you to get the best of both worlds. You can enjoy portability and performance, at the same time, with the help of this 70mm refractor. It can be used for a variety of purposes ranging from stargazing to birdwatching, so it’s rather convenient when compared to others.

As the tripod is easy to put together, you can enjoy the services offered by this telescope both in the great outdoors or while in the comfort of your home. It’s one of the top rated choices for beginners and families where parents are focused on piquing their kids’ interest in astronomy.

Something other that has to be added in relation to this product is that it’s one of the most affordable choices available for sale these days. Despite some people having reported that the tripod might be hard to adjust, it still remains an excellent setup for eager and young astronomers.


Buy from for ($79.99)




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