What are the Best Telescopes under $500?

Yes, it’s true that you can buy toy telescopes for a few dollars to give to your very young kids. In fact, some entry-level models can cost only a couple of hundred dollars. But if you really want high quality images without feeling aggravated, you’ll need to spend a lot more. You may notice that even slight improvements in the quality of the telescope can increase the price exponentially.

First Choice Gskyer EQ 80900 Telescope, German Technology Telescope,Starwatcher Refractors $$$ 4.7/5
Second Choice    Celestron NexStar 130 SLT Computerized Telescope $$$ 3.8/5
Third Choice  Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope (Black) $$$ 4.2/5

However, this doesn’t mean that you need to empty your bank account for a serious telescope. You can set your budget to just $500, and you can get several excellent options to choose from without feeling like you’re “making do” with inferior telescopes. On the contrary, at this price point you can find terrific professional options:

Gskyer EQ 80900 Telescope, German Technology Telescope, Starwatcher Refractors



It’s no surprise that Gskyer is on this list, as its use of vaunted German technology makes sure that you get the precise engineering and premium materials you need for a truly exhilarating stargazing experience.

The optical lens used here lets in 99.5% of the light, which assures you of the utmost brightness of the image you see. The magnification is astounding, as you can go up to 540x to really see the moon and the different planets in the sky. The details you can see in these celestial bodies will astound you.

It comes with a travel bag, and you can use it wherever you go. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to set up and adjust.


  • This comes with smooth tracking so you can monitor moving objects in the night sky.
  • It provides a positive image system, which means you can also use this to look over terrestrial views such as the woods and the cityscape.
  • The setup is easy enough even for a young kid, and with the quality of this telescope they can nurture an interest for astronomy all through their teenage years.


  • It’s very sturdy with lots of metal parts, so it weighs about 35 pounds. That may not be easy for some people to bring about in their travels.

For the most part, there’s really nothing wrong with this Gskyer. At this price range it’s just fantastic and a good upgrade from any entry-level model. If your budget is nearer to $200 than to $500, this is your best bet.

Celestron NexStar 130 SLT Computerized Telescope



This offers 307x as the highest useful magnification, and that means you can see a lot in the night sky. With this, you can see details that you’ve ever seen before, whether you’re focusing on the craters on the moon, the clouds on Jupiter, or the rings of Saturn.

But what will really get you excited is that this comes with “SkyAlign” technology. You won’t need a star chart to align the telescope properly. Instead, you can just enter the date and time and point the telescope in the proper direction. The SkyAlign tech lets you find more than 4,000 planets and stars, and even galaxies.


  • It’s actually light and portable, so you can bring it to your travels.
  • The computerized tracking can give you all sorts of info and capabilities.
  • The quality of the images is amazing, and you’ll wonder at the ice caps on Mars.


  • Since there’s computer software involved, you’ll need batteries. You better bring lots to be safe.

Giving you more insight and information about this telescope under 500$ from Celestron, here is a detailed review about the product:

It is simply worth it! Given its price, you can enjoy a new quality of images viewing the night skies and it could give a clear and crisp images from a vast distance.

Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope



Here’s another intermediate model when you’re done with the entry-level telescope. In fact, you may want to start with this right away if you have even the slight interest in astronomy and stargazing. You can even bring this with your travels, as it comes in a bag and it only weighs 27 pounds.


  • This also comes with then Starry Night Special Edition software.
  • It’s very versatile, as it also comes with a “short tube” for wide field performance.
  • With the 260x magnification, stargazing can let you see far more than you’ve ever had with an entry-level telescope.


  • Beginners will need more than an hour to set this up at first, though with practice you can end up needing only 15 minutes for the setup.

Instead of buying an entry-level telescope, just get this one right away. The quality is tremendous, and it’s versatile enough so you can use it for terrestrial viewing as well.


Of course, $500 is still a serious investment. Still with this kind of budget you can actually find professional-level telescopes that can truly fulfill your need for stargazing. When you’re ready to upgrade from entry-level telescopic performance, you’ll find that with these telescopes the universe is even more beautiful than you’ve imagined, and you can finally see that for yourself. If Binoculars are more your thing, you could check out our post on best binoculars under 500.

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