Best Backyard Telescope 2021; Reviews

Here in this “Best Backyard Telescope” article we’ve rounded up 11 of the best telescopes of various types, specifications, and budget perfectly suited to be used by someone looking to level up. Below, you’ll find in-depth reviews of each, as well as an elaborate buying guide to help you pick out the one that suits you the most.

Astronomy is one of the most enthralling activities in the world. Just ask an astronomer and watch as he attempts to explain the beauty of stargazing, albeit futilely because the experience of astronomy is just indescribable unless you personally experience it.

What’s even better is that you can fulfill your desire to look at beautiful celestial objects right from the comfort of your own backyard.

However, getting into astronomy with a telescope that cannot view the planets is like eating bread without butter. If you are looking to relish the complete beauty of our galaxy from your backyard, then you must be ready to purchase the best backyard telescope for viewing the stars and planets.

Since there are so many options available in the market today, we did a survey among fellow astronomy enthusiasts, and consulted 2 in-house  experts and came up with 11 popular choices for backyard telescopes.

We then took a look at the entire popular telescope market, we combed through the details and customer reviews for dozens of scopes and chose the best backyard telescopes.

We’ve also included a backyard telescope buying guide. If you want to learn more about telescopes before you buy, or just want to make sure you’re getting good value for your money, be sure to check it out.

best backyard telescope
Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:
How to view celestial objects with a backyard telescope?

It’s quite easy to view planets with a backyard telescope, you just need to follow a couple of steps. First of all, find the precise location of the planet you want to view at the observation time. You’ll find sky almanacs online that will tell you the planet’s location, azimuth, and altitude at any time.

To find the planet in the night sky, find a bright object that isn’t sparkling as much as nearby stars, then compare the location of the object on the star chart. In the event that the object doesn’t show on the star chart, then it is a planet. Now, point your scope at the object. Use your finderscope to aim and make adjustments on the primary telescope. 

If your scope has an adjustable magnification, begin at lower magnification to locate the planet, and switch to higher magnification levels afterward to see the details.  Focus your telescope with the aid of the planetary disk’s edge. 

The circular edge ought to be clear and sharp when the scope is focused correctly. Adjust your scope to counterbalance for the apparent motion of the sky. Since the Earth is steadily rotating, the sky seems to shift position from time to time. 

This rotating motion will quickly take the planet you’re viewing out of your sight. Scope drive motors are capable of matching this steady motion, or you can even manually move the scope every couple of minutes.

Best Backyard Telescope 2021

With so many models with so many features available today, it can be a tedious task to find the best backyard telescope.  We have analyzed the main features ( aperture, focal length, ratio, portability, affordability etc.) that make a good telescope for balcony or patio that you can use to enjoy the night sky and fulfill your love for astronomy.

Best For Beginners

Celestron – AstroMaster 90AZ 

The Celestron AstroMaster 90AZ altazimuth refractor is a perfect choice for a beginner who is looking to buy their first telescope to venture into astronomy and enjoy the night sky.

This  reasonably priced 90 mm aperture refractor optical system is a good way to begin your journey into the night sky, as well as exploring nature during the day. 

It provides you with detailed high-contrast views of the Moon and planets in the heavens, as well as sharp views of birds and animals across a lake or across the way.

For the astronomy enthusiast whose interests are the brighter solar system and deep space objects, the AstroMaster 90AZ has a lot to offer.

Its 3.5″ aperture has a light grasp 165 times that of the sharpest eye for nighttime use. Its large aperture and diffraction-free images make it surprisingly good for much deep space observing.

This version of the AstroMaster comes with two eyepieces (Sirius Plossl 20 mm,10 mm) that yield low and medium magnifications, and a 90° diagonal that sports an integrated erecting prism to correct images and allow the scope to be used as a conventional spotting scope for terrestrial use.

When used for astronomical viewing, the AstroMaster 90AZ yields breathtaking views of the Moon, Saturn with its ring structure, Jupiter and its belts and moons, nebulae, and star clusters.  

The telescope features all-glass optical elements as well as smooth-operating steel tripod mountings featuring manual motion controls. 

Additionally, the optics are coated for enhanced image brightness and clarity.

Upon its purchase, you can also download Celestron’s Starry Night Software and learn about the night sky, celestial objects, and plan your next stargazing session.


  • Great optics
  • Great images of the moon and planets as well as terrestrial images
  • Perfect for beginners as their first telescope
  • Stable tripod


  • Finderscope could be better

Best For Home

Gskyer Telescope AZ90600

Gskyer is a German company and is one of the best telescope brands in the world, known to produce high-quality telescopes. 

This is a great starter telescope for the explorer who intends to take their telescope with them on their journeys. Hiking, camping, and even moonlit fishing trips will be more fun when you have this telescope along with you.

The Gskyer AZ90600 is one of the best backyard telescopes for home. If you live in the city and you aren’t able to see much of the sky due to light pollution, you’ll want a telescope like this that’s easy to carry with you.

The 90 millimeter aperture is perfect for viewing most of the things you’d want to view, and all of the glass optics are coated to automatically adjust the brightness of the stars to a level safe and comfortable for observation.

Though this is a beginner telescope, you can use it to observe the moon, stars, meteors, and planets. The telescope offers great clarity, allowing you to see the surface of the moon, the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter. 

It also comes with a smartphone adapter, which allows you to use the phone as a screen, or as a camera to take great pictures. 

Plus, this model is extremely easy to assemble and doesn’t require any calibration. If you’re a telescope beginner, you won’t have to worry about any tricky steps or complicated tests. 

best backyard telescope

The Gskyer AZ90600 comes with an adjustable tripod. This adjustable aluminium tripod offers the viewer many different viewing positions. The height of the aluminum tripod can be adjusted from about 31.5-inch to 49-inch.

This is one of the best  backyard telescopes, it’s 90mm (3.5″) aperture gives bright, sharp images for both land and celestial objects. 

Whether you’re viewing the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter, surface details on the Moon, or terrestrial objects, the Infinity 90 Refractor allows the amateur astronomer to explore the solar system and beyond.


  • Large aperture
  • 3 eyepieces
  • Smartphone adapter
  • Easy to assemble and use
  • Adjustable tripod
  • Perfect travel telescope


  • Good for viewing planets, stars not so much

Best For Planets

Orion SkyQuest XT8 Plus

  • Type: Refractor
  • Aperture: 203mm (8″)
  • Focal length: 1200mm
  • Focal Ratio: f/5.9
  • Eyepiece: 28mm, 10mm
  • Magnification: 120x, 43x
  • Weight: 42 lbs. (19kg)
  • Our Rating: 9/10

The XT8 is an 8” f/5.9 Newtonian reflector with a fairly simple design. That is why it can be your first choice if you are looking for a best backyard reflector telescope for the money.

It includes a 28mm DeepView 2-inch eyepiece, 10mm Plossl 1.25-inch eyepiece, 1.25-inch 2x Barlow lens, full-aperture solar filter, red-dot finder, collimation cap and the planetarium program Starry Night.

You can observe various heavenly bodies including Mars, Saturn and Jupiter that you can view in excellent detail. 

Thanks to the enhanced reflectivity mirror coatings, you can get up to 94% reflectivity so there’s an optimal amount of light transmitted to the eyepiece, which ensures delivery of astoundingly clear views.

The XT8 PLUS has a focal length of 1200 mm (f/5.9) to allow you to achieve clear and crisp views at intermediate to high magnifications on clear nights when seeing conditions are favorable. 

The  SkyQuest XT8 Plus comes with a large 2″ dual-speed Crayford focuser.

best backyard telescope

A step-down 1.25″ adapter is included to allow the use of 1.25″ as well as 2″ eyepieces. The Crayford design enables smooth, precise focus adjustments that are essentially free of backlash and flexure.

For easy transport and storage, the Orion XT8 PLUS telescope can conveniently be broken-down into two separate pieces. 

By unthreading the two altitude tension knobs from the Dobsonian base, you can detach the 46.5″ long reflector optical tube and transport each piece separately.

The Orion SkyQuest XT8 PLUS Dobsonian’s sleek redesigned base not only has an appealing look, it also features cutouts for reducing weight to give the XT8 PLUS more portability. The base also has white trim to make it detectable at night..


  • Large aperture for a low price
  • Decent optics and mechanics
  • Very good single-speed Crayford focuser


  • Red dot finder is of extremely limited utility
  • Other 8” dobsonians offer more accessories

Best For Stargazing

Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 

The Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Newtonian Reflector is an excellent and one of the best reflector backyard telescope. It is well-suited for both beginners as well as intermediate stargazers.

The SpaceProbe 130ST is a 130mm f/5 Newtonian reflector telescope.

This 5.1″ aperture reflector telescope gathers an ample amount of light for great views of the planets and Moon, as well as brighter galaxies, nebulas, and star clusters

The telescope also comes with tools to help you assemble the product, and two eyepieces: 10mm for 65x, and a 25mm for 26x magnification, respectively.

The quick set-up and ease of use makes the SpaceProbe 130ST EQ a very versatile telescope which the whole family can enjoy.

This Orion space probe telescope also boasts a short 24″ long optical tube design which enhances its portability, while the 130mm optical diameter, and the 650mm focal length are in perfect balance with the f/5.0 focal ratio.

In addition, it possesses design features, such as a parabolic mirror and a specially designed holder for the secondary mirror, that focus the light captured by the aperture and use it to sharpen the images produced by the scope, even with its shorter tube.

best backyard telescope

The included aluminum tripod is very sturdy, and also includes an accessory tray that can be very useful when you are outdoors in the dark and need a place to organize your accessories neatly.

The equatorial mount is perfectly built and allows manual slow-motion tracking of celestial objects as they move across the sky. 

The mount can also be upgraded at a later time to a motorized option that tracks objects automatically, so that’s a nice option to have and definitely a plus if you are using the Orion SpaceProbe 130ST for astrophotography.

Just like many other similar products, the Orion 09007 also comes with Orion’s Starry Night software, which is very useful for beginners, and has the added benefit of alerting the user of upcoming celestial events.

Short 24″ long optical tube design for easy portability and fast f/5 focal ratio for pleasing wide-field performance makes the SpaceProbe 130ST EQ a very versatile telescope the whole family can enjoy


  • Nice set of accessories
  • Can be upgraded to have motorized tracking
  • Comes with an Equatorial mount and a versatile tripod
  • Easy to assemble and transport


  • Plastic focuser and mount parts
  • Somewhat confusing instructions

Best GoTo Telescope 

Celestron – NexStar 130SLT

The NexStar 130SLT is a unique reflector telescope from Celestron. The reflector technology uses mirrors to obtain the maximum amount of light possible and therefore to produce images of remarkable clarity, even when located deep in space.

It’s a 130mm f/5 Reflector Telescope which is a complete platform for making observations of the Moon, planets, and bright deep-space objects such as binary stars, star clusters, galaxies and nebulae.

With a focal length of 650mm, this model is an f/5 scope. F/5 scopes are fairly fast, meaning that you have a wide field of view, which is useful for short exposure astrophotography of big portions of the sky.

The Celestron NexStar 130 SLT  is one of the best GoTo backyard telescope and it  removes the issue of struggling to find a planet or star using a paper star map. 

With the Celestron NexStar 130 SLT Computerized Telescope comes a handheld computer that features SkyAlign technology incorporated right into the telescope, automatically finding and pointing the telescope to the planet or star that you would like to see by way of a few button presses.

This is an ideal telescope if you plan to travel or do some outdoor stargazing.

This telescope comes with a pre-assembled, adjustable stainless-steel tripod, quick release fork arm, NexStar+ computerized hand control, 130mm Newtonian Reflector optical tube, and lots of amazing accessories.

The Celestron NexStar 130SLT is designed to maximize celestial views. The scope does so by using its reflector method to bring about clear views of details such as the Hercules globular cluster, stars, or the Great Orion Nebula. These views are made possible by the telescope’s ability to use mirrors to collect and distribute the light that creates the detailed views of far away objects. 

The computerized hand control of this SLT telescope gives you the ability to automatically slew to any of its 40,000+ objects, including over 600 galaxies, 300 clusters, stars and planets.

For astrophotography since The NexStar SLT telescopes use Alt-Az mounts, you will be limited to short exposure photographs.

With the high aperture of the NexStar 130 SLT, Deep Sky Observation with medium-length exposure times are certainly possible. 

For example, you will be able to get some great shots of the Moon (closeups and wide shots), while also being able to photograph some nebulae and other deep sky formations and objects. The reason for this is that Newtonians like NexStar 130 SLT have a fairly wide field of view.


  • Wide field of view
  • Handheld computer makes it easy to find celestial bodies
  • Weighs only 18 pounds for simple transport
  • Deep views of the sky


  • The motor uses up batteries fairly quickly
  • The date and time must be set after each use

Best For Children

Gskyer Telescope, 70mm 

The Gskyer’s AZ70400 Telescope is a 70mm aperture and 400mm short focal length refractor telescope mounted on a camera type tripod. It includes a 45 degree diagonal, a carry case, finder scope, two eyepieces, and a 3x Barlow lens.

The overall assembly of the telescope is straightforward and perfect for anyone with little to no prior knowledge.

The included 3x Barlow lens, 25mm, and 10mm eyepiece all offer varying levels of magnification. The maximum magnification is x120 and provides clear images of the moon, planets, and some star arrangements.

The telescope comes with an altazimuth mount screw tripod made of aluminum alloy for support and stability while viewing distant objects. 

In addition, the telescope comes with a rack and pinion mechanism to assist the focuser in bringing distant objects closer for easy and detailed viewing. The slow motion lever enables you to track celestial objects in motion quite easily.

Setting up the scope typically takes anywhere from 15-30 minutes. Regardless of previous astronomical equipment experience, the step-by-step guide makes putting the telescope together quick and easy.

Because of its rugged design, this type of telescope provides reliable performance in the most demanding conditions so images are kept steady, with no interferences or reflections on the path of light.


  • Easy to setup and use
  • Very portable
  • Perfect for beginners and family
  • Decent optics
  • Comes with its own backpack
  • Robust design


  • Instruction manual is a bit vague
  • Difficult to collimate

Best Portable Telescope

Celestron – 80mm Travel Scope

The Celestron Travel Scope 80mm f/5 AZ Refractor Telescope Kit is designed for portability and ease-of-use for both astronomical and terrestrial use. Its refractor-style optical tube has a respectable aperture that gathers the amount of light required to ensure views of the moon and planets remain bright and clear. 

Included with this model of the Travel Scope is a universal smartphone digiscoping adapter that lets you capture photos and videos through the eyepieces for easy editing, enjoyment, and sharing.

This is no doubt one of the best backyard telescope for beginners as it’s very easy to set up and use.

Setting up the Travel Scope 80 is a breeze. You’ll be observing in no time. The telescope and its accessories can be assembled in just a few minutes, straight out of the box. 

best backyard telescope

Adjustable tripod legs allow telescope height to be extended for taller observers, or retracted for placement on raised surfaces like a picnic table. Includes a tray to help you keep track of your eyepieces and other small accessories while observing.

Weighing at just 6 lbs (2.7kg) the entire set is very portable and you can take it with you anywhere and expect great optics and views. The backpack fits perfectly and gets full marks. The altazimuth mount ensures an easy and smooth movement which is important not only when tracking objects but also when you keep following them.

Celestron Starry Night Software is the premier astronomy software package on the market, providing resources and knowledge to view the solar system and beyond. Download it and learn about the night sky, celestial objects, and how to plan your next observing session.

With it;s manual Alt-Az mount, you can navigate the night sky with smooth precision using pan handle Alt-Az control with clutch. You can adjust the clutch in an up/down or left/right manner to track any object in the eyepiece.


  • 80mm aperture is ideal for lunar and planetary viewing as well as terrestrial use
  • Fast f/5 focal ratio ensures views remain bright
  • Photo-style tripod
  • Lightweight and durable aluminum legs


  • Finderscope could be better.

Best Dobsonian Pick

Sky-Watcher Flexyube 200

The 8ʺ dobsonian is an f/5.9 Newtonian, manufactured by Suzhou Synta Optical Technologies (Synta), the same company that owns Celestron. Synta also builds Orion’s XT and XX Dobsonians. The mirrors are made of borosilicate glass, also known as Pyrex, which expands far less with expansion and contraction than plate glass.

Sky-Watcher 8″ Collapsible Dobsonian Telescope features an elegant truss tube design that was carefully engineered to combine ease of use, extreme portability and consistent performance in an affordable package. 

Unlike other truss tube designs, the Sky-Watcher Collapsible Dobsonian does not need to be disassembled between uses

It transports as two compact pieces that can be assembled and ready to use in minutes. It is easy to collimate once set up, and it holds its collimation throughout the viewing sessions.

It is essentially a Dobsonian style Newtonian with a large 8″ aperture which is ideal for beginners who can invest a fair amount as well as professionals. 

The telescope comes with a great focal length of 1200mm and with a focal ratio of f/6

The Sky-Watcher 10″ Collapsible Dobsonian features a 2″ single speed Crayford style focuser and comes with a 1.25″ adaptor.

25mm and 10mm 1.25” super Plossl eyepieces are included. Metal construction, captive recesses on the barrels and rubber fold-down eye-cups make these good quality eyepieces that are certainly adequate to get you started.

This is one of the best backyard telescope for adults for DSOs as it has a low-hassle OTA design which is not only simple in construction and use but it also provides the viewer with maximum light for viewing deep space objects without any aberrations or blurriness.

The Sky-Watcher 8″ Dob utilizes quality components throughout.

On each parabolic primary mirror, and elliptical diagonal mirror aluminum is vacuum deposited to the front glass surface and then over coated with hard quartz. Additional layers of Titanium Dioxide and hard quartz are then applied.

The mechanical and structural components of the OTA exhibit rigid construction and outstanding stability. 

The mount construction is sturdy and rigid. Mount design, while simple, facilitates smooth motions about both axes. 

The Sky-Watcher 8” comes with quality accessories that enhance the observer’s viewing experience.


  • Easy to transport due to collapsible tube design
  • Focuses very accurately
  • Easy to use
  • Can be used by beginners & professionals
  • Viewfinder helps in easy spotting of objects
  • Built with high quality materials


  • Doesn’t come with a Barlow lens
  • Needs a light shroud

Best Reflector Backyard Telescope 

Celestron – AstroMaster 130EQ 

The telescope is fitted with a 1.25 rack-and-pinion focuser and two eyepieces to get new users started – a 10mm that yields 65x power and a 20mm for a 32.5x magnification. 

The 20mm eyepiece integrates an erecting system to correct images horizontally and vertically to allow easy terrestrial use. 

The AstroMaster 130EQ also features an unmagnified red-dot finder to help set-up, align and navigate easier.

Celestron’s AstroMaster 130EQ 130mm f/5 Reflector Telescope features a 650mm focal length and an oversized parabolic mirror that produce detailed images of the Moon, clear views of the planets, and the ability to resolve distant objects such as nebulae and galaxies.

The 130EQ comes on a lightweight German equatorial mount that works well enough for the 130 mm f/5 OTA, and it should work okay with a DSLR camera piggybacked on top.

Since it can get quite hard to keep the object in the view because of the Earth’s rotation, there is an upgrade for this mount to help you with that. 

It is a simple clock motor which you turn on after you get the object in the view and it will track the object keeping it in the middle of the eyepiece. It’s much easier to stargaze like this rather than twisting the knobs while looking through the eyepiece. The motor is not included but it can be bought separately.

The Celestron’s AstroMaster 130EQ is one of the best backyard telescopes for astronomy as not only is it great for planetary viewing, with the moons of Jupiter and rings of Saturn being star attractions, but being a reflector telescope with a wide aperture, it could be one of the cheapest telescopes on offer that can decently display deep space objects.

At just 17 lbs total weight and thanks to its compact design, the Celestron AstroMaster 130 EQ is very portable. You can take it literally everywhere with you, unlike heavier and bulkier telescopes for professional use.


  • Very good optics
  • Decently priced telescope
  • Suitable for beginners as well as advanced users
  • Clear crisp mirrors


  • Focuser is of limited usability
  • No filters included

Best Computerized Backyard Telescope

Celestron – NexStar 6SE

The NexStar 6SE offers consumers the proven quality of the Celestron brand in a compact, portable, and technologically advanced telescope. 

The scope’s 6-inch aperture, portable design, fully functional computer, and extensive database, among other features, make it easy to use, easy to transport, and easy to enjoy regardless of experience level. The NexStar 6SE is quite evidently the best computerized backyard telescope on our list.

The NexStar 6SE is a 6-inch Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope, which has an actual aperture of 150 mm and focal length of 1,500 mm, giving it a focal ratio of f/10. The OTA comes on a Vixen-style dovetail bar, which fits into the dovetail saddle on the mount.

The telescope also comes with a 1.25” prism diagonal, 25 mm Plossl eyepiece (providing 60x when used with the 6SE) and Celestron’s StarPointer, which is a zero-power red-dot-style finder.

The Celestron NexStar 6 SE is a solid and sturdy telescope, perfect for home use and astrophotogaphy.

The Celestron NexStar 6 SE is easy to align with Celestron’s SkyAlign Go-To Alignment system

On average it takes a new telescope user approximately 5 minutes to do a full sky alignment with the NexStar 6 SE. 

Once aligned, the telescope is incredibly easy to operate. The hand controller on the NexStar 6SE allows you to move the telescope at your discretion. If you are looking for a telescope that can help you transition from beginner to a bit advanced astronomer without much guidance then look no further than the NexStar 6SE as it one of the best rated backyard telescope that money can buy.

The NexStar 6SE’s hand controller offers a tour of the night sky and easily allows you to locate planets, galaxies or any of the 40,000 celestial objects in its database.

To power the 6SE you have two options, 8x AA batteries or 12v DC power supply. The 8x AA batteries would last you about 3 hours (included alignment of finderscope and general terrestrial viewing and the 40 minute observation session). 

You can download all the available upgrades from Celestron’s website. In this way, you can keep your telescope up to date, and you can even control your telescope via computer.

The 6SE makes a good choice for consumers living in areas with light-pollution who are looking for clarity and accuracy in their viewing experience. 

It is also one of the best starter telescopes under $1000 who are willing to invest a fair sum of money into the hobby in order to learn more about the star gazing experience. Also, the 6SE is a good choice even for more experienced star gazers who wish to have a more portable scope for easier transport and for viewing deep space objects.


  • Easy to mount and to use
  • Good optics
  • It’s very sturdy and low maintenance
  • Motorised and automated GoTo mount
  • Portable, fits perfectly in the back of any normal car


  • 8 AA batteries tend to drain out fairly quickly
  • User manual and instructions are not very clear

Best Tabletop Telescope

Orion 10013 GoScope 80mm 

The Orion GoScope 80mm Tabletop Refractor Telescope,  is a rare telescope model that has the advantage of being both incredibly portable, as well as extremely easy for a beginner to use.

This ultra-compact, entry-level refractor with a tabletop mount makes a great, high-quality first telescope for children and beginners. 

Although it may look like the telescope for kids, it’s not just for newbies – the GoScope 80mm TableTop Refractor’s convenient small size makes it a true “grab-and-go” telescope, perfect for on the move experienced stargazers. 

The telescope comes complete with 10 mm and 20 mm eyepieces, and can magnify objects in the night sky by up to 165 times their size. An EZ finder is included that allows novice astronomers to locate objects in the night sky, and follow their movements with ease.

The entire telescope weighs just 5.65 lbs. assembled (including eyepiece and reflex sight) so it’s easy for anyone in the family to take it out to the backyard table or an observing site.

The Orion GoScope 80mm Tabletop Refractor has an 80-mm aperture that captures a large amount of light to give you the benefit of very bright images. The brightness gives the telescope the ability to target distant objects in the deep sky, so that you can see things like the Orion Nebula that smaller telescopes would likely miss.

best backyard telescope

Being light (around 9 pounds), compact and easy to travel with, the Orion 10013 GoScope 80mm TableTop Refractor Telescope will definitely become your best pal in trips or while camping with the family. If you want any extra height, you can place it on a regular tripod as the Go Scope has a special insert on the bottom.

The optical tube assembly of the GoScope 80mm Refractor Telescope is attached to its sturdy table-top swivel base with a quick-release dovetail saddle which features adjustable altitude tension. This allows you to set the up/down tension of the mount according to your preference, for smooth motion.

The GoScope travel telescope tube can easily be removed from the base and mounted on an optional photo tripod, utilizing threaded holes on the optical tube mounting block. 

Alternatively, the GoScope’s swivel base itself can also be mounted on a camera tripod to raise the telescope if you cannot find a convenient flat surface nearby.


  • Surprisingly good optics
  • Great for beginners and children
  • Easy to use and travel with
  • Can be easily attached to a mount
  • Produces extremely bright images


  • Not good for astrophotography
  • Not for professionals

Best Backyard Telescope Buying Guide 2021

Features To Consider While Choosing A Backyard Telescope

Before purchasing the best backyard telescope, you need to take a couple of factors into account. Different models are suitable for different skill levels, so you need to keep the factors you’re looking for in mind.

Type of Telescope

There are three types of telescopes and each one has their strong and weak points. They are categorized by the abilities to gather light and the way they go about it. Refractor scopes are better than every other type at viewing through light pollution. Also, they are ideal for planetary and lunar observations.

Reflector scopes, on the other hand, are perfect for deep-sky observation and don’t perform excellently with light pollution. These scopes require regular alignment and adjustment if used regularly.

Compound scopes utilize a mix of reflector and refractor elements. They’re great for general observation of the sky, and they perform well even in areas with light pollution. However, such models are of high-end scopes, and therefore were not included in the list.


The aperture is always one of the first considerations you need to make when buying a telescope of any kind. Even though it sounds somewhat complex, a telescope’s aperture is basically the diameter of its mirror or lens, depending on whether it’s a reflecting or refracting telescope. The larger the aperture of a telescope, the brighter the images you can view through the lens will be.

Focal Ratio

Focal ratio is the focal length divided by the objective diameter. A long focal ratio implies higher magnification and narrower field of view with a given eyepiece, which is great for observing the moon and planets and double stars.

For such objects, a focal ratio of f/10 or more is ideal. But if you want to see wide views of star clusters, galaxies, and the Milky Way through your best telescope for home use then a lower focal ratio is better. You get less magnification, but you see more of the sky. Wide field telescopes have a focal ratio of f/7 or less.

Focal Length

The focal length is another important consideration you need to make. Basically, it is a measure by which the telescope’s magnification is determined. While we won’t be digging into the scientific definitions, we will only mention that there is a direct correlation between the scope’s focal length and the lens of the eyepiece.


To get an image suitable for observing with our eyes, a telescope uses a second lens, or collection of lenses, called an eyepiece at the focal plane. The eyepiece magnifies the image from the objective.

The eyepiece also has a focal length. The magnification of a telescope and eyepiece is very simple to calculate. If the focal length of the objective is “F” and the focal length of the eyepiece is “f”, then the magnification of the telescope/eyepiece combination is F/f. For example, if a telescope has an objective lens with focal length of 1200 mm (about 48”) and it has an eyepiece of focal length 25 mm (about 1”), then it will have a magnification of 1200/25=48x.


best backyard telescope

The eyepiece plays a significant part in planet viewing. To get a clear and crisp planetary image, you’ll require an eyepiece that has a high magnification and a short focal length. When thinking about viewing planets, you need to keep in mind that the eyepiece must not go beyond a magnification of 50X for each aperture inch. For instance, you shouldn’t go beyond a magnification power of 200X if you have a scope with a four-inch diameter (aperture).


Depending on the sort of person you are, this factor may or may not be important to you. If you are intending to use your scope at a specific place and not to ever travel with it, then the weight may not really be a point of focus for you. And besides, half the delight of having a telescope is in showing it off. For that, you may decide to travel with the scope.

Extra Features

You also need to consider extra features such as included accessories and warranty terms. Telescopes for viewing planets are usually expensive, and you don’t want to make such an investment without having security.

The warranty, in this case, is your security and you must consider the terms when choosing the right model for your needs. You should also look for products that come with useful accessories and instructional DVDs.


Our top pick for the best backyard telescope for beginners is the Celestron – AstroMaster 90AZ  for its superb combination of high quality with affordability, something rarely seen nowadays. While this unit doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of more expensive models, it’s a great value for money, making it the best affordable telescope for viewing planets and galaxies.

Coming in at second place is the Gskyer Telescope AZ90600. With excellent adjustability, great performance, high portability, and easy assembly, not many people can argue against the quality of this unit.

Our third pick for the best backyard telescope is the Celestron – 80mm Travel Scope, which despite being one of the best units on this list, is also one of the cheapest, which is somewhat ironic. This unit is also very versatile as it can be used for observing both celestial objects and the beautiful night sky.