Best Dobsonian Telescopes 2022; Reviews
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If your passion is to visually observe deep space objects, one of the best Dobsonian telescopes from our list would be the ultimate tool for the job. The Dobsonian is a simple, low-cost telescope design popularized by San Francisco amateur astronomer John Dobson in the 1970s. It consists of a Newtonian tube assembly riding on a simple, wooden altazimuth base.
Table Of Contents
- 1 COMPARISON TABLE
- 2 Best Dobsonian Telescopes 2021
- 3 Best GoTo Dobsonian Telescope
- 4 Best Dobsonian Under $300
- 5 Best Dobsonian Under $500
- 6 Best Under $2000
- 7 Best 10” Dobsonian Telescope
- 8 Best Dobsonian Under $1000
- 9 Best Table Top Dobsonian
- 10 Best For Beginners
- 11 Best 6” Dobsonian Telescope
- 12 Best 8” Dobsonian
- 13 Best 12” Dobsonian Telescope
- 14 What are Dobsonian Telescopes?
- 15 Benefits of a Dobsonian Telescope
- 16 Features to consider when choosing a Dobsonian
- 17 Conclusion
|TopTop Top Top Top Top||SkyWatcher Flextube 250 Dobsonian 10-inch||Best GoTo Dobsonian||Type: Newtonian Reflector, Aperture: 254mm (10″), Focal length: 1200mm, Focal Ratio: f/4.7||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top||Orion 10014 SkyQuest XT4.5||Best Under $300||Type: Newtonian Reflector, Aperture: 114mm (4.5”), Focal length: 900mm, Focal Ratio: f/7.9||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top||Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic||Best under $500||Type: Newtonian Reflector, Aperture: 203 mm (8″), Focal length: 1200mm, Focal Ratio: f/5.9||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top||Sky-Watcher Flextube 250 Dobsonian 10-inch||Best Portable Pick||Type: Newtonian Reflector, Aperture: 254mm (10”), Focal length: 1200mm, Focal Ratio: f/4.7||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top||Sky-Watcher Classic 250 Dobsonian 10-inch||Best 10” Dobsonian Telescope||Type: Refractor, Aperture: 254mm (10″), Focal length: 1200mm, Focal Ratio: f/4.7||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top||Orion StarBlast 6i IntelliScope Reflector||Best Table Top Dobsonian||Type: Reflector, Aperture: 150mm (5.9″), Focal length: 750mm, Focal Ratio: f/5||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top||Orion 8944 SkyQuest XT6||Best For Beginners||Type: Reflector, Aperture: 150mm (5.9″), Focal length: 1200mm, Focal Ratio: f/8||See on Amazon|
|Top||Orion SkyQuest XT6 PLUS Dobsonian||Best 6"||Type: Reflector, Aperture: 150mm (6″), Focal length: 1200mm||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top||Zhumell Z12 Deluxe Dobsonian Reflector Telescope||Best 12” Dobsonian Telescope||Type: Refractor, Aperture: 305mm (12″), Focal length: 1500mm, Focal Ratio: f/4.9||See on Amazon|
A large primary mirror at the bottom of the tube collects light and concentrates it onto a small secondary mirror, which diverts the light cone out the side of the tube and into the eyepiece.
Their affordability and simplicity of operation make Dobsonians a great first telescope for entry into the hobby of amateur astronomy, especially those in the 6″ to 8″ aperture range.
Larger Dobs, though bulkier to transport, are highly popular among experienced observers, thanks to their tremendous light-gathering prowess and, again, their affordability compared to refractors or catadioptric telescopes.
The larger models disassemble into smaller and lighter components, making it possible to transport a large instrument to a dark site.
Best Dobsonian Telescopes 2021
Nowadays, there is no lack of options when it comes to finding the best dobsonian telescope for any user levels or for the entire family to enjoy home astronomy.
With so many models and characteristics any dobsonian has, it becomes rather hard for both novices and pros to find the one We have analyzed the features that make the best telescope to help you pick out the one that is most suited to you.
Best GoTo Dobsonian Telescope
The SkyWatcher’s 10” mirror delves deep into the universe, allowing you to see thousands of objects from Saturn, Jupiter, & Mars to galaxies, nebulae and star clusters millions of light years away.
This collapsible telescope features a patented truss tube system that enables the front corrector plate/eyepiece assembly to be moved back and locked against the main rear tube to reduce the size for storage and transportation.
The included SynScan computerized hand control is the brain behind the Sky-Watcher GoTo Dobsonian.
It allows you to point your telescope at a specific object, or even tour the night sky at the touch of a button!
With an internal database of more than 42,000 celestial objects, this easy-to-use hand control can locate any object you see in the night sky with push-button ease.
You can even let your Sky-Watcher GoTo Dobsonian take you on a tour of all the best objects based on your time and location.
To get started, all you have to do is – perform a simple alignment procedure.
SkyWatcher S11810 GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian is one of the best rated Dobsonian telescopes on Amazon.
This Dobsonian was carefully engineered to combine ease of use, extreme portability and consistent performance in an affordable package.
No doubt, there are other truss tube designs, but the Sky-Watcher Collapsible Dobsonian does not need to be disassembled between uses.
It transports as two compact pieces that can be assembled, collimated easily and ready to use in just seconds.
- Collapsible truss tube design for maximum portability
- 2” Crayford focuser with 1.25” adapter that can be used with either size telescope eyepieces
- Comes with with 42,000 object database and simple alignment procedure
- A little on the heavier side
Best Dobsonian Under $300
Orion SkyQuest XT4.5
The Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic Dobsonian telescope has been designed with ease-of-use in mind. It’s a true “Dobsonian” telescope, having all the great features and value that make the Dobsonian reflector design so popular.
The SkyQuest XT4.5 collects a whopping 260% more light than a typical 60mm-aperture beginner telescope – which simply means hundreds more objects will be visible through this classic dobsonian.
With it’s 4.5″ aperture and 900mm focal length you can have the clear views of lunar craters and plains on the Moon, planets, bright nebulas and galaxies.
You can even see Jupiter’s cloud band, Saturn’s rings.
The XT4.5 is easily the best portable dobsonian telescope as it is compact and lightweight compared to its competitors.
The Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 comes with some amazing accessories. You get a 6×26 Orion achromatic correct-image finder scope and a “navigation knob” for easy slewing of the telescope.
You also get two fully coated Orion 1.25″ Sirius Plossl eyepieces: a 25mm for low-power views at 36x, and a 10mm for getting in close at 91x.
The Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 is one of the best dobsonian for beginners, it’s not a toy. It’s a quality astronomical instrument capable of delivering high-resolution images of astronomical objects.
The SkyQuest XT4.5 comes with a wooden Dobsonian base. The base also has some Nylon bearing pads, which prevent the scope from moving from position, allowing you to have a vibrations free viewing.
- Affordable telescope with a great quality-price ratio
- Very good optical and mechanical performance
- Fully accessorized
- Perfect for amateurs with its simple and stable configuration
- Short eyepiece height
- Plastic focuser
- planets, stars not so much
Best Dobsonian Under $500
Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8
The Orion XT8 Dobsonian is a mid-range reflector telescope. The XT8 offers a good balance between portability, price and performance. In this review we’ll look at the build quality of the XT8, along with how it performs at planetary and deep-space objects.
The Orion XT8 classic Dobsonian is also perfect for those looking to use the telescope for astrophotography.
The Orion XT8 SkyQuest Classic Dobsonian telescope features an expertly figured parabolic mirror housed in an enameled steel optical tube.
The tube rides on a stable Dobsonian base that allows easy point-and-view navigation and has a convenient carrying handle. A 2-inch Crayford focuser, EZ Finder II aiming device, and a 25 mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece (size 1.25-inch).
The easy-to-use finder and optical tube allows viewing of most extra-terrestrial objects like star clusters and even obscure matter such as nebulae.
A camera for astrophotography can be attached to the telescope with a ‘T-adapter’. Setting up the SkyQuest XT8 is fairly straight-forward, the telescope comes in two easily attachable parts, which need to be connected by the integrated springs.
Additionally, the CorrecTension springs allow enough resistance, so the telescope stays upright. Talking about its balance, a particular strength that has been found with the SkyQuest XT8 is its sturdy base – if it is set up on the uneven ground, viewing the night sky is not impacted significantly.
It should take around 30 minutes to assemble the telescope solo or 15-20 minutes with someone else giving you a hand.
The Orion XT8 Telescope is undoubtedly one of the best astronomy telescopes under $500 – suitable for all types of stargazers, whether they are beginners, amateurs or die-hard observers.
Those who are new to the art of astronomy will find this telescope easy to use, and experts will find most of the functions satisfying.
The XT8 classic Dobsonian is also family-friendly, allowing kids to enjoy the fascinating hobby of stargazing, and the beginning of their interest in astronomy to flourish.
Its specifications are more than capable of observing a wide array of objects, and with surprising detail- satellite craters can be clearly viewed, as well as obscure nebulae.
Its minimalistic yet very ergonomic design is also very appealing.
- Decent size optics with a lot of light gathering optics
- Ultra stable base
- Perfect for astrophotography
- Can last you a lifetime
- Perfect for the kids and entire family
- A little on the heavier side
- Red dot finder is of extremely limited utility
Best Under $2000
Sky-Watcher Flextube 250
The 10ʺ dobsonian is an f/4.7 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 10″ 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 10″ 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/4.7.
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 telescope for amateurs 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 10″ 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 10” 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 10” Dobsonian Telescope
Sky_watcher Classic 250
The SkyWatcher S11620 features a 10” aperture and fast f/4.7 optics which allows you to enjoy wide field views of deep-sky objects that are not observable with most beginner telescopes.
In fact, a 10” Dobsonian is the telescope of choice for many seasoned amateur astronomers.
The telescope’s simplicity, coupled with serious light-gathering power, makes this one of the best 10 inch dobsonian telescopes available in the market today.
With the SkyWatcher S11620 you also get a 2-inch Crayford focuser which comes with a 1.25” adapter to help you acquire fast and accurate focus.
The Sky-Watcher 10” Dobsonian features a primary mirror made of Pyrex glass.
Because of its very low coefficient of thermal expansion, Pyrex glass is less affected by changing temperatures.
This greatly reduces the cooling time of a telescope larger than 8” in diameter without using an extra fan. The great stability of this low expansion glass ensures high quality images.
The heavy base weighs in at 25 lbs. and provides a rock-steady platform with very low vibrations. This alt-az rocker mount features Teflon azimuth bearings and a tension clutch on the altitude axis.
Finally, the tension control handle allows users to adjust the settings allowing them to move the mount easily and smoothly by hand with minimal vibration and maintain its position when released.
- Suitable for beginners and intermediate-level astronomers
- Reasonably priced
- Durable and efficient
- Portable and travel-friendly
- Heavy mount
Best Dobsonian Under $1000
Orion XT10i IntelliScope
The Orion 1019 SkyQuest XT10i is a computerized Dobsonian reflector telescope that can detect more than 14,000 objects with its parabolic optics and IntelliScope Object Locator.
If you are in the market for one of the best dobsonian telescopes under $1000 with a 10” aperture and a built-in computer then the SkyQuest XT10i would be an amazing deal for you as compared to other brands.
This non-motorized telescope can be helpful for teaching beginners to locate stars on their own.
The telescope can gather a large amount of light which enables for bright views of outer spaces, nebulas, galaxies, stars, our moon and surrounding planets.
It comes with a 2 inch Crayford focusers, two 1.25 inch Sirius Plossl telescope eyepieces (25mm and 10mm), a 9×50 right-angle correct-image finder scope, eyepiece rack, a collimation cap, and Starry Night software.
The Starry Night software is an amazing piece of software for those who are serious about astronomy or deeply enjoy it as a hobby.
With this software, you will be able to view the wonders of the universe right from your computer. It even has a Spaceship mode which allows you to travel the universe with the click of a button.
The Orion 1019 SkyQuest XT10i comes with a wooden Dobsonian base which provides maximum support and stability.
The CorrecTension adjustment knobs will keep the telescope’s optical tube balanced for comfortable viewing positions.
You are at an advantage using “Push-to” as compared to GoTo. Using the “push-to” XT10i IntelliScope helps you learn the night sky more quickly than motorized GoTo systems, since you are actively involved in slewing the telescope to the correct viewing position.
Additionally, the “push-to” SkyQuest XT10i IntelliScope Dobsonian runs on a single 9V battery cell for hours, which is a lot less power than more costly motorized GoTo systems require.
- Quick and easy to assemble.
- The telescope is very portable for its size.
- This scope is reasonably priced for its quality
- The mirror at the bottom of the open tube often collects dust and is easily scratched.
Best Table Top Dobsonian
Orion StarBlast 6i IntelliScope
The Orion StarBlast 6 is a 6-inch (actually 150mm) Newtonian reflector telescope on a simple altitude-azimuth mount. With a focal length of 750mm, the focal ratio is a fairly fast f/5.
As equipped, it comes with two of the standard Orion Sirius Plössl eyepieces (25mm and 10mm, providing 30x and 75x respectively) and a red dot sight.
This best intermediate portable 6″ f/5.0 reflector telescope comes with Orion’s exclusive IntelliScope computerized object location system, allowing night sky newbies to pinpoint hundreds, even thousands of astronomical objects with push button ease.
The StarBlast 6i is the most compact and portable intermediate computerized 6″ reflector telescope on the market. Even beginners can quickly locate any of 14,000+ celestial objects with the easy-to-use handheld locator.
The mount itself is a common simple altitude-azimuth mount. Though it’s often described as a “table-top Dobsonian,” it is not.
This mount is closer to a single-arm fork design. Regardless of what you call it, it is very easy to use and fairly sturdy and stable. Users generally will want a table or stool to set it up on, but it otherwise provides a good platform for the scope.
The small, lightweight form allows the telescope to be used on a sturdy table, the hood of a car, the landing of an outdoor stairway, or any other suitable flat surface. Robust construction including non-stick PTFE bearings and adjustable altitude tension on the base ensures smooth maneuvering of the StarBlast 6i.
To locate objects in the sky, all you have to do is manually move the telescope as you are directed to by the arrows on the locator’s display, which features a black light.
This frees up time normally spent looking over star maps, planisphere wheels or using astronomy software when figuring out what to look at, while also saving you power and energy compared to more costly motorized systems.
The included EZ Finder II reflex sight provides a simple way to line up objects in the telescope’s field of view.
The included 25mm Sirius Plossl will yield 30x power magnification with the StarBlast 6i reflector, while the stronger 10mm telescope eyepiece will boost your views up to 75x power for closer looks. An included eyepiece rack will hold your oculars securely within reach right on the StarBlast 6i base, for easy switching between magnifications during family observing sessions. Integrated carry handles on the base allow for convenient lifting or transport of the reflector telescope.
There are illuminated menu buttons on the included IntelliScope controller that let you select objects by type, such as galaxy, cluster, nebula or planet, or you can choose to look them up by catalog number.
If you aren’t sure what to look for in the night sky, let the Tour mode do it for you by selecting one of 12 tours to see the best available viewing objects during any given month.
- Surprisingly good optics
- Perfect intermediate Grab-and-Go telescope
- Easy to use and transport
- Produces extremely bright images
- Comes loaded with 12 sky tours
- Not suitable for astrophotography
Best For Beginners
Orion 8944 XT6 Classic
The Orion SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian telescope is the best telescope for beginners as it can open up the night sky for you and your entire family.
With excellent light grasp, point-and-view ease of use, convenient portability, and a low price, the XT6 Classic Dobsonian reflector should be on the top of any beginner’s telescope wish-list.
The primary mirror has a 6-inch (150mm) aperture with a focal length of 1200mm and a focal ratio of f/8. There is no spherical aberration as the primary mirror is parabolic.
The Classic XT6 comes with a single eyepiece – a 25mm Plossl(48x magnification).
The Orion SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian is built around a 150mm diameter parabolic primary mirror that collects nearly eighty percent more light than a 4.5″ reflector telescope.
The XT6 performs especially well at planetary and lunar observation because of its long focal length of 1200mm and resultant focal ratio of f/8.
When viewing brighter planets such as Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn through the XT6 Classic, you will see them in much sharper detail.
The Dobsonian base is a simplified altazimuth mount also known as a rocker box.
It’s constructed of wood with three basic Teflon pads for azimuth bearings and UHMW polyethylene pads for the altitude bearings. The motions are smooth and the base is very stable which means no vibrations.
The Orion SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian also includes a quick collimation cap for easy mirror alignment, and dust caps for the reflector telescope tube and focuser.
The EZ Finder II is a battery-powered red dot finder with zero power (no magnification). It helps you locate celestial objects and accurately aim the XT6 in their direction.
- Quick and easy setup
- Crisp optics for a gorgeous viewing experience
- Not for astrophotography
- Only 1 eyepiece
Best 6” Dobsonian Telescope
Orion SkyQuest XT6 Plus Dobsonian
The Orion SkyQuest XT6 Plus is one of the best dobsonian telescopes as it has a redesigned Dobsonian base with a sleek, streamlined look. The scope features weight-saving cutouts in the side panels that help make the base easier to move to and from observing sites.
The scope is manufactured by Orion Telescopes & Binoculars which is one of the best telescope brands in the world. They have a great range of telescopes and accessories for telescopes that are suitable for all age ranges and experience levels.
A white trim band around the round base of the XT6 Plus base enhances visibility in the dark.
An eyepiece rack is included that can hold up to three 1.25″ eyepieces, making it easy to store and swap between different oculars to vary the magnification of your observations.
The optical tube of the XT6 Plus, which sports an attractive “twilight blue” metallic finish, houses a 150mm parabolic (5.9″) mirror with enhanced-reflectivity (94%) aluminum coating for superior light transmission compared to standard mirrors.
Its 1200mm focal length (f/8) provides this telescope with extraordinary magnifying power.
With the help of its included 10mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece you can easily study the Moon’s cratered surface or Jupiter’s cloud bands at 120x.
- Affordable and budget friendly 6” telescope
- Redesigned base with weight saving cutouts
- Easy, tool-free collimation adjustment
- Few main components are made of plastic
Best 8” Dobsonian
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.
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.
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 12” Dobsonian Telescope
The Zhumell Z12 Dobsonian telescope features a massive 12” parabolic primary mirror that captures a substantial amount of light and produces crisp, bright images free of spherical aberration.
With the telescope, you’ll get two fully multi-coated eyepieces, a 2” 30mm eyepiece for wide field views and a 1.25” 9mm eyepiece for higher magnification.
The primary mirror sits on a 9-point floatation-support mirror cell. The cell also has a cooling fan which is powered by an AA battery pack which plugs into the fan.
The Z12, comes with a 30mm SuperView eyepiece (51x), 9mm Plossl eyepiece (169x), a laser collimator, and a 9×50 right-angle correct image finderscope.
The focuser on the Zhumell Z12 is a high-quality dual-speed 2” Crayford unit, a must for such a large scope with a fast focal ratio.
Apart from the optics, the Zhumell Z12 Dobsonian features a simple, streamlined design with sturdy construction that will hold up even after many years of use at stargazing parties, camping trips, and more.
A word of caution – The Z12’s optical tube is so large (at 14” across and 58” long) and heavy (at about 48 lbs.) that careful considerations must be taken in moving it.
- Easy assembly
- Good optics
- 2-speed focuser
- Easy to Use
- RACI finder
- Difficult to transport due to its size and weight
What are Dobsonian Telescopes?
Dobsonian telescopes are also commonly referred to as light buckets. When it comes to observing deep space objects, light gathering aperture is the single most important factor.
Dobsonians combine medium to large aperture Newtonian Reflector optics with a simple lazy Susan style altazimuth mount that sits directly on the ground.
This keeps the cost low without having to compromise on the size or quality of the optics.
Types Of Dobsonian Telescopes
Three types of Dobsonian telescope are commonly available for sale. The choice between them generally comes down to what is practical based upon the aperture of the telescope
Solid Tube Dobsonian Telescopes
Dobsonians with solid tubes are popular in telescopes with smaller apertures, at least as far as Dobsonians go. The optical tube assembly is a one piece affair. The most common sizes offer six, eight, and 10-inches of aperture.
The most common examples for Solid tube Dobsonians are the Sky-Watcher Classic and Orion Skyquest models.
Collapsible Tube Dobsonian Telescopes
Collapsible Dobsonians feature a one-piece optical tube assembly that is capable of collapsing upon itself to reduce the overall length.
The lower part of the tube with the primary mirror and upper part with the secondary mirror and focuser are permanently connected with metal poles. With the flick of some locking levers, the entire assembly can collapse upon itself.
Collapsible Dobsonians make the most sense in 12 and 14-inch apertures, where the collapsed length of the optical tube will fit across the back seat of a car.
Smaller collapsibles have little benefit, other than a reduction in storage space.
Truss Tube Dobsonian Telescopes
Truss tube telescopes make a great deal of sense for apertures of twelve inches or more.
A lower mirror box housing the primary mirror is connected to the upper cage assembly with the secondary mirror and focuser using removable truss poles.
Unlike the other two types above, this distributes both the weight and length of the fully assembled optical tube across a number of smaller and lighter components. These telescopes must be assembled in the field before they can be used.
Benefits of a Dobsonian Telescope
Easy to setup & use
Perfect for beginner and amateur astronomers. A Dobsonian can be up and running in just a few minutes from box to backyard.
A Dobsonian mount is so easy to set up and use, it feels like second nature. All a person needs to do is grab the scope and move it in the right direction.
As a matter of fact, assembling the telescope takes only a minute or two. The telescope moves smoothly with minimal pressure. Dobsonian mounts are lighter and very portable.
There are a few cons. You cannot use this type of mount for astrophotography as it does not track the stars. You manually have to move the telescope every few minutes to keep an object in view. You will also find it a bit difficult to view objects near the zenith.
Engineered with highly varied weights and sizes. At first glance, you might assume that a Dobsonian is too big or heavy to be portable. On the contrary, Dobsonians are some of the easiest telescopes to both set up and relocate.
No image distortions
Dobsonians do not suffer from the image distortion caused by chromatic aberration in refracting telescopes.
Dobsonian mounts are affordable
One of the primary reasons that many astronomers love Dobsonian telescopes for their night-sky observation is cost. Simply put, a Dobsonian mount is generally cheaper to make than an equatorial mount or even a fine-tuning alt-azimuth mount.
The dobsonians are highly adaptive telescopes – The dobsonians on our list range from beginner use to professional use.
Large aperture and low weight
The best Dobsonian telescopes are ones with great aperture but are still practical to use. It’s not uncommon to find Dobsonians of 12 inches and more, and you would be pleasantly surprised at the low cost.
They’re built with hollow tubes, so are lighter than you’d expect (at least in the 10-inch and smaller sizes). It also helps that the base rarely weighs more than the tube itself.
However, the larger you go with aperture, the heavier and less portable Dobsonians become. You have to consider the practicality of getting a 12-inch telescope to fit in your car.
It will also be quite heavy to move if you are on your own, stargazing solo. Of course, you also need a suitable place to store your telescope as you cannot keep it outside exposed to the elements.
Buying Guide - How To Choose The Best Dobsonian Telescope
Dobsonian telescopes are great because you get a lot of aperture for your money.
Features to consider when choosing a Dobsonian
Aperture is a measurement of the primary mirror of a reflector telescope. As I mentioned above, a larger aperture means that the telescope allows more light in. More light contributes to brighter, crisper, more detailed images.
Dobsonian telescopes are great because you get a lot of aperture for your money. A refractor telescope of similar size and image quality would be much more expensive.
Of all the telescopes listed here, the Skywatcher S11840 Dobsonian has the largest aperture at 16, followed by the Zhumell Z12 & SkyWatcher S11820 GoTo Dobsonian with 12” aperture.
Smaller, more portable telescopes often aren’t quite as powerful as heavier ones. That said, it’s important to choose a telescope that you can handle and will actually use regularly.
Large aperture and low weight
Telescopes are an incredible door to the heavens, for anybody intrigued by space and astronomy and is willing to investigate the unending immensity of the world. If you are looking for the best telescope under $500 then you are bound to encounter a wide variety of choices. The telescopes for under $500 are ideal for amateurs to intermediates to advanced as well.
A telescope in this price range will enable you to view planetary details like shadows and texture of the moon, nebulae and galaxies, among other objects.
There is a big variation between telescopes used for watching mountains and cities, than those for watching the Moon and neighbouring planets, or the ones for deep space exploration.
Computerized telescopes make locating and tracking thousands of celestial objects much faster, easier, and more convenient. If you’re looking for an automated scope, I recommend the SkyWatcher S11800.
Who’s Using It?
If you’re using your Dob for outreach, you’ll want something portable but at the same time with as much aperture as possible – GoTo or digital setting circle assistance also helps as you’ll save time locating targets.
If you’re using it with your kids, portability may not be as much of a consideration but the quality of the image, as well as the kid’s interest, will dictate a lot about your choice of the telescope.
If you’re buying a telescope for a teenager, we wouldn’t recommend going above 8 inches in aperture, as the collimation will be too difficult and it’ll be too heavy for them to set up and use on their own.
Our top pick is the SkyWatcher S11820 GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian Telescope that offers the convenience and affordability of the traditional Dobsonian with the convenience of a computerized Go-To telescope.
This electronic telescope lets you program it to find objects in the night sky automatically, saving you the effort of reading star charts and manuals.
Our next best is the best dobsonian under $500 – The Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic – boasts an 8″ parabolic primary mirror that gathers a significant amount of light to generate bright, high resolution images without visual imperfections such as spherical aberration.
These telescopes are all great options for the price ranges they fall in. You just have to remember that you get what you pay for.
As the price gets lower, you will not be able to view as much, or as clearly, as you can with the more expensive ones.
The one you get will depend on what your viewing needs are and how they match with your budget. Now the decision is in your hands.