What to look for when buying a telescope

What to Look for When Buying a Telescope

Do you want to buy a telescope? If so, where do you start? What should you look for? These are some of the questions that might be running through your mind.

The rise of consumer telescope activities has been increasing exponentially. However, the majority of telescope purchases are for lower-end models, which can be considered useless by many.

You’ll learn about different telescopes and what they are suitable for, how much money they cost, and what features to look out for. There’s no need to worry – we’re here with all the answers!

Whenever you’re ready to dive deep into buying a telescope, keep on reading.

History of the Telescope

The telescope was invented in Holland by Hans Lippershey in 1608. He applied for a patent on the device but later denied it because Galileo had already created one. The first telescopes were very simple – they just magnified objects.

However, over time, telescopes have become more and more advanced. Today, there are many different types of telescopes available to choose from, and each has its own unique set of features that make it perfect for specific applications.

Furthermore, telescopes are no longer just for astronomers, and they can be used by anyone who wants to explore the universe! Consumer models are advanced and very capable in today’s day and age.

Telescopes can be classified into two main categories: reflecting and refracting. Reflecting telescopes use mirrors to reflect light into an eyepiece, magnifying the sunlight. Refracting telescopes use lenses to refract or bend incoming light into an eyepiece, then stretch.

Reflector Telescopes

There are many different types of reflector telescopes available on the market today. Understanding their differences will help you make a valid purchasing decision.

Newtonian Reflectors vs. Cassegrain Telescopes

Newtonian and Cassegrain (Cassegrains) both fall under the category of “reflector” telescope because they both have a primary mirror that reflects incoming light – but how do these two scopes compare against each other?

The most significant difference between them is aperture size. This refers to the diameter of their primary lens or mirror (the bigger, the better).

Generally speaking, Cassegrain scopes have a smaller aperture size than Newtonian reflectors. This means that their magnifying power is less robust – but they are also more compact and easier to carry around.

Refractor Telescopes

Refractor telescopes are easy to recognize because they look like a long tube with lenses at the end.

They use lenses (instead of mirrors) to refract or bend light into an eyepiece, which then magnifies objects that you’re viewing through it.

There are many different types of refractor telescopes available on the market today:

Catadioptric Telescopes

Catadioptrics combines the functionality of both reflector and refractor telescopes by using a combination of reflective and refractive elements within their optical design.

The advantages? Catadioptrics produce brighter images than either Newtonians or Cassegrains – perfect for low-light conditions such as early mornings and evenings!

Plus, catadioptrics offers a longer focal ratio, which means they have a more remarkable ability to show you fine details. In addition, catadioptrics can also produce images that will appear both upright and inverted – perfect for showing planets in the night sky!

Price Range

Suppose the price is a factor when considering whether or not you should purchase a telescope. In that case, there’s good news.

Reflector telescopes tend to be more affordable than refractor telescopes because their lenses aren’t as complex (although this depends on how big your aperture size is). Generally speaking, though, reflectors come with more petite price tags than refractors.

This doesn’t mean glasses won’t cost you any money, though; it just means that if money isn’t an issue for you, but the quality is, then you’ll likely be able to get a better quality reflector telescope.


When buying telescopes, many features can come in handy. Here are a few of the most important ones to look for:

The Mount

The mount is just as important as the scope itself when it comes to telescopes! The support holds the telescope in place and allows you to move it around quickly – which means you can track objects in the sky with ease. A good amount will be sturdy and stable, so make sure to test it out before making your purchase.


Eyepieces come in all shapes and sizes, but they all do one thing: They magnify what you’re looking at. When choosing eyepieces, make sure to get a set that has a range of different magnification levels so you can use them depending on what type of viewing you’re doing.

The Tripod

A tripod is another essential piece of equipment to look for when purchasing a telescope – it’s what holds the telescope up and keeps it stable while you’re viewing objects in the sky. Make sure to choose an adjustable tripod so that you can set it at the perfect height for you.

Telescope Accessories

Many different accessories are available for telescopes, such as filters, adapters, and cases. When buying your telescope, ask the seller about what types of accessories are available, and make sure to get a few extras to enhance your viewing experience!

How to Choose the Right Telescope

Now that you know what to look for when buying a telescope, here are some tips on how to choose the right one:

Think about what you want to use the telescope for. Are you only going to be using it on special occasions like stargazing? Or do you plan on taking your telescope with you everywhere and viewing objects in different places (or getting a portable one)?

Figure out how much money that can afford to spend – then buy accordingly! Telescopes tend to cost more than reflectors or refractors, so make sure not to go over budget when purchasing yours. Also, consider the price of accessories before coming up with an overall number.

Consider features such as magnification levels, mounts, and tripods depending on your needs. For example, choose a smaller aperture size scope with a sturdy tripod if portability is essential. But if the quality is most important to you, get a giant telescope with a weaker mount.

Think about what type of viewing you’ll be doing the most: terrestrial or celestial? Suppose you’re primarily interested in looking at things on Earth (like plants and animals).

In that case, you don’t need a telescope that’s designed explicitly for astronomy – a reflector will do just fine! But if your main focus is on objects in space, then make sure to buy a telescope that’s meant for stargazing.

Common Mistakes Made When Buying a Telescope

Just like anything else, there are some common mistakes that people make when buying telescopes. Here are a few of them:

Not Doing Their Research

Telescopes can be expensive, so it’s essential to do your homework before purchasing! Know what you want and need before hitting the store.

Buying Based on Price Alone

Just because something is cheaper doesn’t mean it’s a good deal – make sure to consider all of the features of the telescope before making your decision.

Not Getting the Right Accessories

Accessories can enhance your viewing experience, so don’t forget to pick up a few extras when buying your telescope!

Not Reading Reviews

Before spending any money on a telescope, read online reviews to see what other people say about it. It’s always good to get the opinion of others before buying any product!

Not Considering Size and Weight

If you plan on taking your telescope with you everywhere or want something easy to move around, make sure to consider both its size and weight before making your purchase. Otherwise, you might end up disappointed once the item arrives at your home!

Buying a Cheap Beginner Model

This may seem like common sense, but some beginners buy very cheap telescopes because they’re unsure if stargazing is for them yet.

However, these inexpensive models aren’t usually ideal for astronomy – so save yourself money in the long run by buying an advanced telescope from the get-go!

Your Telescope Journey Begins

So, now that you know what to look for when buying a telescope and the different things to consider before making your purchase, it’s time to start your journey into the world of astronomy!

Telescopes can provide hours of enjoyment for anyone – regardless of their experience level – so get out there and start exploring!

If you’re intrigued and considering buying a telescope, please get in touch and we will accommodate your needs.