Telescope stands – Buying guide & Comparison
Whether you already have a telescope or are planning to get one soon, you probably want to provide it with a good rock-solid base by getting a good telescope stand. Doing so won’t just allow you to easily handle the telescope and accurately track planets and stars, but also reduce unwanted movement and result in better and clearer images, especially if you also plan on doing astrophotography. But which stand should you get? We’re here to provide you with a list of choices that should help you make the right decision. After having studied lots of models on the internet, we have decided to pick the Travel Tripod Zecti Lightweight ZT-015 as our top choice. Not only is it light and highly versatile, but it also is cheap and can provide you with the stability you need at just a fraction of the price. In the unfortunate event that it’s unavailable, you should try the Orion Min-EQ 9055 instead.
Having a steady platform for your telescope is vital to good image quality as well as easier handling of your device. But there are quite a few aspects to take into account before buying a telescope mount or a tripod. You need to consider weight, stability, price as well as extra features. Here is a short guide that we have written to help you make an informed choice and go for the platform which best suits your needs and style.
Stability? What is it good for?
You might still be wondering why you’d need so much stability for your telescope. You’re just planning to get out a bit, take your telescope with you and watch a few planets along the way. Can’t you just handhold the telescope?
The short answer is no, the long answer is…still no. There’s no possible way you can handhold your telescope and still be able to make any significant observations of even the closest celestial body out there: our Moon.
Why? Because even a tiny amount of body movement (a fraction of an inch) can multiply to a great deal when it comes to cosmic distances. What this movement results in is wobbly images, difficulty locking focus on any single object, and a lot of frustration in the process. So if you want to use a telescope, then you must get a telescope stand, an equatorial mount or at least a DSLR tripod.
The quality triangle
The question now is: how can you find the best telescope stand? Well, it isn’t that simple. A good rule of thumb is that you can’t get a stand or tripod that’s lightweight, stable and cheap. You’ll need to compromise at least one of the qualities in order to get the other two.
If you value quality above all else, then you’ll either need to pay a lot for a tripod that’s both light and stable, or accept that if you want it cheap, it will be stable, but heavy. If you want portability, then you’ll either pay more or get a lighter stand that isn’t the best in terms of stability.
Choosing what’s most important for you
You don’t need to have a tripod that’s the best of the best, especially if you’re just starting out. You can opt for a heavy variant and start practicing in your backyard, or you can go for a light tripod that’s not rock-solid, but you can take it anywhere with you. And the best telescope mount is the one you can use the most.
Another choice is to get two tripods, one light for trekking and outdoor adventures, and a heavy one for home use or for traveling by car. That way you get to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Top telescope stands reviews in 2018
Now that you know a thing or two about the importance of having a stable stand for your telescope, you should start looking at a few models and see which ones provide the most bang for the buck. The good news is that you won’t have to go through countless models for sale and then spend a lot of time comparing them. We have done just that, so you don’t have to. So without further ado, here are our top telescope stand picks that you should consider when making a decision.
Travel Tripod Zecti Lightweight ZT-015
The Travel Tripod Zecti Lightweight ZT-015 is the for its size. Weighing only 600 grams or 1.32 pounds, this telescope is perfect for cosmic explorations in the great outdoors.
You can mount small telescopes and even DSLR cameras and enjoy a stable platform that isn’t tiresome to carry compared to this model’s counterparts.
Not only is this tripod incredibly light, but it is also compact, measuring a mere 40 centimeters or 15.7 inches when folded. You can easily put it into a small backpack along with a compact telescope and head out to explore the night sky without a significant burden on your shoulders.
The Travel Tripod Zecti Lightweight ZT-015 comes with a 3-way head which will provide you with great freedom of movement so that you can point your telescope, camera or even iPhone with ease in any direction.
This compact device measures 55 inches in length, and it has a net weight of 2.9 lbs. Therefore, it is not difficult to carry it around when you are on the go.
Moreover, this camera tripod was made using metal and sturdy plastic and, thus, it is durable and likely to last long.
Because of the two control knobs incorporated in its design, this item allows its users to rotate it at 360° so that they can have a panoramic view of their surroundings.
This choice is highly appreciated by users because it can be adjusted in accordance with one’s needs and preferences. Also, when shipped, it comes with a practical pouch.
Some have argued that this model has problems when it comes to its overall stability given its light weight. Still, not many complained about this issue so far.
One user claimed that this device is not particularly sturdy when compared to other similar models.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
Orion Min-EQ 9055
The Orion Min-EQ 9055 is a small and compact telescope mount that’s ideal for passionate stargazers that like to be on the move. Despite its small size, this mount is sturdy and extremely stable, providing you with a good base you can count on to enjoy a great night outdoors, observing the planets and stars.
This is an equatorial-type mount which is great for telescopes since it is designed to nullify the impact of Earth’s rotation around its axis. Not only that, but thanks to an intelligent design, this tripod can provide you with a stable platform without shakes and vibrations that can impact both the quality of viewing as well focusing abilities.
The Orion Min-EQ also comes with a counterweight weighing 4.8 pounds which is meant to ensure that the platform stays steady even under moderate wind or local air currents.
Measuring 14 inches when fully extended yet weighing only 10 pounds, this is a high-quality portable equatorial mount that’s great for both novice and experienced astronomers.
Because of its small, yet sturdy construction, this model is regarded as the go-to unit by those that enjoy traveling. As a plus, it can effectively support a 7 lbs. telescope.
This alternative comes provided with a rugged metal EQ-1 equatorial mount head that, according to buyers, adds to its appeal.
The model is marketed as a suitable tracking platform for wide-field astrophotography with a 35mm SLR or DSLR camera.
Plus, this unit comes with slow-motion control cables for manual tracking as well as with a 4.8 lb. counterweight that you might find practical.
Although this item has received positive reviews from buyers, it has been noted that the base of the model is not threaded for 3/16″ 20 TPI bolts.
One unhappy buyer pointed out that, if you intend to use the unit for long exposures, it is recommended that you acquire an additional automated drive that is sold independently.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($71.39)
Orion Paragon HD-F2 5378
The Orion Paragon HD-F2 is a heavy-duty tripod that’s designed to provide a reliable and stable base for telescopes, large cameras as well as binoculars.
Made from strong and durable aluminum, this tripod can ensure that you won’t have to deal with wobbly and shaky images every time you turn a knob or press a button on your telescope, ensuring crystal-clear and sharp images every time.
Thanks to its aluminum build, this tripod is strong yet very light, allowing you to take it with you anywhere. Setting it up can be done effortlessly in just a few easy steps. Extend the legs and lock them in position with levers, mount the telescope and you’re set to go.
You can adjust the Orion Paragon HD-F2 to suit your height and viewing style, extending the legs and using the graduated marks to ensure a level setup. This telescope measures 72 inches when fully extended and weighs only 7.5 lbs.
This adjustable heavy-duty field tripod is said to provide stable support for spotting scopes, cameras, and telescopes. Therefore, it can be used for a wide array of tasks.
Plus, the item comes fitted with adjustable aluminum-tube legs, lever locks as well as graduated marks that allow for a quick and easy setup.
The product can be smoothly controlled as it includes a two-way fluid pan head that features tension adjustment knobs on both of its axes.
According to the seller, the legs of the model are tri-braced and, as a result, they can supply the unit with increased stability.
As one owner remarked, at maximum torque, the pan lock of the unit does not lock down. As a result, the tripod swivels easily.
Furthermore, it has been said that this model is difficult to use with large binoculars. However, not many spoke about this issue at the time we did the research.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($99.99)
Albott 70″ Portable COMINU032063
The Albott 70″ Portable is a highly versatile tripod that’s suited to telescopes, DSLR cameras, iPhones, GoPro cameras and a host of other devices weighing up to 8.8 pounds. This 4-section tripod can easily become a monopod.
Just remove the center column, which features 5 sections, and fully extend it to a height of 65 inches. You can easily switch between tripod and monopod versions to suit your needs.
With the 3-way pan head, you get to provide mobility for your telescope or camera on any of the 3 axes while also being able to tilt and swivel to accommodate the portrait position for DSLR cameras in particular.
You get to mount your favorite device through a ¼ inch screw on the quick release plate. Legs can be easily extended and locked with quick-clamps. You can also rotate the rubber legs and reveal spikes, a great feature when on soft ground.
Size-wise, this item has a net weight of 3.65 lbs., and a height range of 21″-70″. Moreover, the choice has a load capacity of 8.8 lbs.
The unit comes fitted with a 3-way flexible pan head that allows for a tilt and swivel motion. Besides, it provides its users with a 360-degree rotation angle that many like.
The quick-release plate that the model incorporates is compatible with standard 1/4”-20 screw mounts. As a plus, the option can be used with cameras, binoculars, GoPro devices, and telescopes.
A handy carry handle and a center column hook are also incorporated in the price of the device.
Although buyers stated that the unit is suitable when used for stills, it seems like it might not be as reliable when utilized to shoot videos.
Because the model features an all-plastic head assembly, this device is not particularly sturdy and durable when compared to others.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($45.99)
AmazonBasics Lightweight WT3540
The AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight WT3540 is a versatile model that has received plenty of positive telescope stand reviews.
Able to accommodate any model of telescope, camera or other devices weighing no more than 6.6 pounds, this versatile mount weighs only 3 pounds, being ideal for people who like to be on the move without being burdened by heavy equipment.
This ultralight mount can extend up to 60 inches, but folded measures only 25 inches. Thanks to its compact design and included zippered bag, you get to take the tripod with you anywhere with ease and ensure that you have stability and comfort to observe the stars or take pictures of your favorite landscapes.
With the 3-way panning head and 2 built-in bubble levels, you get to balance your entire setup and prevent crooked pictures or positioning errors while also ensuring smooth and accurate tracking.
This item stands out because it is light in weight. Consequently, it is the right pick for you if you intend to carry it around with you throughout the day.
Besides, this choice features legs that have an adjustable height as well as rubber feet that can provide it with extra stability.
As the seller notes, this option is highly versatile as it is compatible with telescopes, cameras, as well as with smartphone adaptors and scopes.
The model weighs 3 lbs. and it has a recommended max load capacity of 6.6 lbs. When its center post is fully extended, it reaches 60 inches.
One user pointed out that the section where the legs attach to the body is rather flimsy and likely to move, affecting the stability of the device that you are using.
The model comes provided with legs that, according to one buyer, end with slippery parts that cannot supply the unit with the necessary stability.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($21.08)