11 Best Telescopes For Kids, Teens, Family & Home Use 2022
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A telescope for your kids or teenagers is one of the best ways to introduce them to the wonders of the cosmos. Moreover, a kid-friendly telescope presents a great way to spend quality family time at home or on a family outing in nature.
Whether you have a toddler, a 5, 6, 7, 8, 12-year old child, or if you have a teenager at home, this article can help you find the best telescope for your kid that your entire family can also enjoy.
I have divided this article into three sections to make your buying process easier.
- Best Telescopes For 4 to 7-Year-Old Kids
- Best Telescopes For Families With 8 to 12-Year-Old Kids
- Best Telescopes For Families With Teenagers & Older Kids
That said, I would still recommend that you check out all the telescopes in this article irrespective of your child’s age. Children tend to learn quickly and outgrow things.
So, If you’re looking for a telescope for a 6-year-old child in your family, don’t limit your research only to the first section, have a look at the other sections of this article too. You may find a telescope better suited for your entire family.
Table Of Contents
- 1 1. Best Telescopes For 4 to 7-Year-Old Kids
- 2 2. Best Telescopes For 8 to 12-Year-Old Kids
- 3 3. Best Telescopes For Teenagers
- 4 Best Telescopes For Kids - Reviews
- 4.1 1. Celestron 21024 FirstScope
- 4.2 2. Emarth Telescope
- 4.3 3. Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Telescope
- 4.4 4. Celestron - 70mm Travel Scope
- 4.5 5. SOLOMARK 70mm Telescope
- 4.6 6. Sarblue Mak60
- 4.7 7. MAXLAPTER Refractor Telescope
- 4.8 8. Celestron Inspire 100AZ
- 4.9 9. Celestron - NexStar 4SE Telescope
- 4.10 10. Celestron - AstroMaster 130EQ
- 4.11 11. Celestron – StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ
- 5 Important Features of a Telescope
- 6 Types of Telescopes
- 7 How To Choose a Telescope For Kids
- 8 Factors to consider when buying the Best Telescope for Kids
- 9 Safety Tips for Kids When Using a Telescope
- 10 Tips For Maintaining a Kid’s Telescope
- 11 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- 12 Conclusion
1. Best Telescopes For 4 to 7-Year-Old Kids
2. Best Telescopes For 8 to 12-Year-Old Kids
|Image||Title||Click to Edit||Price||Buy|
|Top Top||Celestron - 70mm Travel Refractor Scope||Best For 8-10 Year Olds||See on Amazon|
|Top Top||SOLOMARK 70mm Refractor Telescope||Best Terrestrial Option||See on Amazon|
|Top Top||Sarblue Mak60 Compound Telescope||Best Compact Pick||See on Amazon|
|MAXLAPTER Refractor Telescope||Best Portable Pick||See on Amazon|
3. Best Telescopes For Teenagers
|Top Top||Celestron - NexStar 4SE Telescope||Best Computerized Pick||See on Amazon|
|Top Top||Celestron - AstroMaster 130EQ||Most Powerful Option||See on Amazon|
|Top Top||Celestron – StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ||Best Smartphone-Enabled||See on Amazon|
|Celestron Inspire 100AZ Refractor||Best Refractor||See on Amazon|
Best Telescopes For Kids - Reviews
1. Celestron 21024 FirstScope
(Best Tabletop Pick)
- Type: Newtonian Reflector
- Aperture: 76mm (3″)
- Focal length: 300mm
- Focal Ratio: f/4
- Mount: Dobsonian
- Eyepiece: 20mm, 4mm
- Magnification: 15x, 75x
- Weight: 4.5 lbs.(2 kg)
The Celestron 21024 FirstScope Telescope offers excellent potential as a starter telescope for a family with a 4 – 6-year-old kid(s) eager to learn more about the magnificence of the night sky.
Celestron FirstScope is an excellent budget telescope for kids, so you don’t have to worry if your child outgrows the telescope. You can always invest in a better, larger telescope.
The FirstScope is aesthetically pleasing with a chic and modern look.
Its compact design, lightweight frame, and portability make the Celestron 21024 an easy grab-and-go telescope for a young kid.
The telescope has a tabletop design with a lightweight base. The base has three rubber feet for rock-solid stability on any surface.
The telescope’s Dobsonian mount makes it easy to use for every member of your family irrespective of their user level.
The Celestron FirstScope 76mm f/4 Alt-Az Reflector Telescope is designed as an ideal entry-level kid-friendly telescope for observing the Moon and planets, comet-watching, and enjoying meteor showers.
This tabletop telescope features a Newtonian reflector optical design and comes with two fully multi-coated 1.25″ diameter eyepieces (20mm and 4mm ) that yield 15x and 75x magnifications.
The telescope has a short base, so you’ll need to place it on a table to use it comfortably, which might be a hindrance for some observers, however, if you have children who have been bugging you for a telescope, the FirstScope is the perfect solution, given its petite build and ease of use.
- Lightweight and easy to carry around.
- The mount and base are very stable.
- Provides great views of the night sky.
- Excellent build quality and finish.
- Looks very good.
- Requires no assembly, can be used straight away.
- Not for advanced users.
- Limited magnification.
2. Emarth Telescope
(Best Budget Pick)
- Type: Newtonian Reflector
- Aperture: 70mm (2.75″)
- Focal length: 360mm
- Focal Ratio: f/5.1
- Mount: Altazimuth
- Eyepiece: 25mm, 10mm
- Barlow Lens: 3x
- Magnification: 51x, 128x
- Weight: 2.87 lbs. (1.3 kg)
The Emarth Travel Scope for kids is a 70 mm refractor and is one of our top telescopes under $100 for family use.
On top of it, it’s covered under a 2-Year satisfaction guarantee warranty.
It’s super easy to use and can be an excellent educational and fun gift for your child. If your child enjoys watching and exploring stars, they will surely enjoy this accessory-packed telescope.
Although the Travel Scope is designed and intended for kids, it’s far from a kid’s toy.
The 70mm aperture and fast f/5 focal ratio are ideal for viewing the moon and planets like Jupiter and Saturn.
It is even capable of showing you brighter deep-sky objects such as the Orion Nebula or nearby double stars and clusters.
It comes with 25mm and 10mm Kellner eyepieces that provide 14.4x and 36x magnification.
A useful 5×24 finder scope and an erect image diagonal are also included with the telescope.
The erect image diagonal allows the children to use the telescope during the day on a family outing to the beach or the mountains.
It even comes with a carrying case that comfortably fits both the tripod and the optical tube.
The tripod has legs that extend to 42.7” at full length, but it can retract down to 15.7” – small enough to be packed into the trunk of your car.
Thanks to the telescope’s sealed optics, it’s not just waterproof, but its optics can easily handle a bit of knocking around that typically comes with children using things.
For a telescope that lives up to the demands of children and a parent’s concerns, I’d say the Emarth Travel Scope holds up pretty well.
- High quality construction for durability
- Compact and lightweight
- Can be used as a terrestrial telescope
- Comes with its own carry case
- Doesn’t come with a good instruction manual
3. Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Telescope
(Best For Toddlers)
- Aperture: Not Applicable
- Focal length: Not Applicable
- Dimensions: 9 x 14.9 x 7 inches
- Weight: 1.8 pounds
If you have a toddler in your family who is already interested in the stars and the planets, then first of all – Congratulations!
The Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Telescope is a perfect gift for a young space enthusiasts.
It doesn’t function as a real telescope. Instead, it presents 24 images of planets, the Sun, the Hubble telescope, Halley’s comet, rockets, eclipses, the International Space Station, and much more. For each image, children can listen to 5 different facts which means there are 120 interesting tidbits of information to learn. Then, children can test their knowledge by answering questions (again, 5 questions per image for a total of 120 questions).
This interactive toy features the voice of Emily Calandrelli, the star of Netflix’s show Emily’s Wonder Lab, who shares over 200 fun facts about space in four different languages (English, Spanish, French, and German).
With just three batteries, your toddler can spend hours learning and observing beyond our atmosphere before they are ready for a real telescope.
- Suitable for young kids
Not a functional telescope
4. Celestron - 70mm Travel Scope
(Best For 8-10 Year Olds)
- Type: Reflector
- Aperture: 70mm (2.8″)
- Focal length: 400mm
- Focal Ratio: f/5.7
- Mount: Alt-az
- Eyepiece: 20mm, 10mm
- Magnification: 20x, 40x
- Weight: 4.2 lbs (1.9 kg)
The Celestron 70mm Travel Scope is an excellent choice of telescope for those seeking an easy-to-use, portable scope that can be used by everyone in their family.
The Celestron Travel Scope also comes pre-assembled and ready-to-use, so a kid can just grab it and go.
The 70mm aperture is well-suited for the purpose of this portable telescope and provides bright and crisp views given its size.
The Travel Scope 70 is an excellent daytime scope when you need it for terrestrial viewing for fun family activities like watching the birds, landscapes, or ships in the ocean.
The telescope even comes with a backpack that is large and padded so as to ensure that the telescope stays safe and free of damage.
The altazimuth mount of the telescope is very effective in tracking stars and comets smoothly and is a great addition.
It comes with 20mm and 10mm eyepieces that provide 20x and 40x magnifications.
The Travel Scope is easy enough for any family member to use at home. Children can easily see the moon and planets like Saturn and Jupiter and open star clusters.
This specific scope can be used by children from ages 7 and up. Young users will need supervision and guidance on how to use and care for the telescope.
It’s an easy-to-use and easy-to-setup telescope, and you don’t have to exert a lot of effort on the installation of this travel scope.
Moreover, you don’t even need any tools or equipment to assemble the scope before using it.
- Easy to Use
- Perfect for home use
- Lightweight and highly portable
- Affordable Price
- Excellent optics
- Dual powered eyepieces
- Tripod is shaky when fully extended
5. SOLOMARK 70mm Telescope
(Best Terrestrial Option)
- Type: Refractor
- Aperture: 70mm (2.8″)
- Focal length: 400mm
- Focal Ratio: f/5.7
- Mount: Alt-az
- Eyepiece: 25mm, 10mm
- Magnification: 16x, 40x
- Weight: 5 lbs (2.26 kg)
The Solomark is a great starter model for kids. It features a 70mm aperture, with two eyepieces included in the package.
You get a 10mm and 25mm eyepiece, with a smartphone adapter included. Hook the eyepiece up to your kid’s smartphone, and let them record the viewing session.
This telescope is ideal for 8 – 12-year-old kids or beginners because of its bright image clarity and strong magnification power.
The SOLOMARK refractor telescope is suitable for newbies to explore the night sky, including moons, planets, clusters, and distant scenery like mountains, flowers, birds, and wild animals.
The telescope has high-quality multi-coated glass optics, including a 70mm high-permeability refractor lens.
These refractor lenses are ideal for bird watching, nature studies, and landscape photography during the day, as well as night star and moon observation at night.
It’s simple and portable to set up and operate, offers excellent views, and requires almost no maintenance.
It comes with a stainless steel adjustable tripod stand that meets any height and angle and provides stability to your smartphone.
This 70mm telescope comes with a smartphone adapter that will allow you to connect the camera of your phone to the eyepiece so you can take pictures of your objectives. Smartphone adapters are a great way to get started with astrophotography.
The included 3x Barlow lens can triple the magnification and effectively double your collection of eyepieces.
This telescope has erect image optics and can be used for both terrestrial and astronomical purposes.
The high transmission coatings on the fully multi-coated optical glass lens offer magnificent visuals while protecting your children’s eyes.
- Lightweight and portable
- Decent optics
- Included Barlow lens and smartphone adapter
- Comes with a carry bag
- Can be used as a terrestrial scope during the day
- Struggles at high magnifications
6. Sarblue Mak60
(Best Compact Pick)
- Type: Maksutov-Cassegrain
- Aperture: 60mm(2.36″)
- Focal length: 750mm
- Eyepieces: 20mm
- Magnification: 37.5x
- Weight: 2.62 lbs. (1.18 kg)
The Sarblue 60mm is a compact budget telescope for kids and novices with a long focal length. It’s primarily optimized for the Moon, planets, and double stars, but will show you a few deep-sky objects too.
This Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope is designed in such a way that the detachable lid on top reveals the internal construction of the telescope and helps children and beginners understand the intrinsic working details of the telescopes, making it perfect for a family with kids who are above 7 years.
Moreover, with a long focal length of 750mm, the tube length is only 200mm, which makes it easy to store or carry it along with you for your next family outing for great views of the night sky.
It also comes with a phone adapter, a tabletop tripod, and an erect-image diagonal.
The included phone adapter and erect-image diagonal make it very useful if your family and kids want to use the telescope for daytime activities such as birdwatching, or ocean viewing.
The telescope comes with a high-quality 20mm wide eyepiece which gives 37.5X magnification, providing high-power sharp views on distant objects.
The Maksutov-Cassegrain design of the telescope with a long focal length means you can achieve high enough magnifications for planetary viewing.
You can see the moon, Jupiter, Galilean moons, and the Great Red Spot on Jupiter’s surface.
Your whole family can also enjoy great views of Saturn, its rings, and the Cassini Division too.
This telescope is undoubtedly an easy-to-use powerful piece of instrument that kids and your whole family can enjoy at home or on a family vacation.
- Lightweight, easy to carry
- Great for iPhone/android astrophotography
- Good optics for the price
- Can be used as a spotting scope
- Can also be used for educational purposes
- Small aperture
- Not a very powerful telescope
7. MAXLAPTER Refractor Telescope
(Best Portable Option)
- Type: Refractor
- Aperture: 70mm (2.75″)
- Focal length: 400mm
- Focal Ratio: f/8
- Mount: Alt-az
- Eyepiece: 25mm, 6mm
- Magnification: 16x, 66x
- Weight: 5.5 lbs. (2.5 kg)
It’s great to see children do things on their own, which is what the MAXLAPTER Refractive Astronomy Telescope offers.
It has ergonomic handwheels which are designed to make it easy for anyone to set it up. Even your children can put it together on their own.
Maxlapter is a telescope for kids and beginners. It consists of a multicoated lens and is very famous for its high transmission feature.
It has high transmission of 99.5% which helps to get a brighter and clearer image. These kinds of coatings also prove protective for your eyes.
It comes with two eyepieces of 6mm and 25mm that provide magnifications of 66x to 16x respectively.
It has a camera shutter control wire with it. Its package includes the smartphone adapter, backpack, and tripod stand. It is very portable, i.e., you can take it anywhere in that backpack.
Maxlapter Telescope even offers a lifetime warranty and a 30 days refund policy.
- Good quality accessories
- Lightweight and extremely portable
- Lifetime warranty
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Cheap quality
8. Celestron Inspire 100AZ
- Type: Refractor
- Aperture: 100mm(3.9″)
- Focal length: 660mm
- Focal Ratio: f/6.6
- Mount: Manual; Alt-Azimuth
- Eyepiece: 20mm, 10mm
- Magnification: 33x, 66x
- Weight: 20 lbs.
The Celestron Inspire 100AZ offers a complete observing package with a 100mm aperture, a focal length of 660mm, and plenty of features at a reasonable cost.
This telescope would appeal to teenagers and younger astronomers, in particular, as it’s not only affordable but also attractively designed.
It also comes with an Amici prism for correct-image orientation viewing for instant suitability for terrestrial use.
It provides great visuals of the moon and can also be captured with a smartphone thanks to its built-in smartphone adapter.
The 4” aperture is large enough to show you great views of the planets and some of their features like the Giant Red Spot on Jupiter and some of its cloud bands and moons.
You can also see Saturn, some moons, and the Cassini Division.
The phases of Venus and Mars can be observed, but Uranus and Neptune will only be visible as dots.
The moon is fascinating to look at through the Inspire telescope with clear resolution and good contrast.
The telescope has an altazimuth mount that moves very smoothly and has functional settings that allow for you to cruise around the night sky with fluid ease or hone in a specific spot with the same amount of precision.
The mount sits on a tripod that can be adjusted for various heights.
This telescope comes with two eyepieces; 10mm and 20mm, providing magnifications of 66x and 33x respectively.
Completing the package is a useful red light LED torch, accessory tray/leg spreader, and a dual-purpose dust cap.
The older kids and teenagers in your family will love the telescope’s built-in smartphone adapter which they can use to take pictures of the moon and planets, as well as the terrestrial objects.
The included StarPointer Pro red dot finder projects a reticule onto the view, making it easy to align with Solar System objects or bright stars.
- Sturdy build
- Minimal maintenance required
- Built-in smartphone adapter
- Decent accessories
- Simple to set up and disassemble
- Good looking telescope
- Shaky tripod
- May suffer from chromatic aberration
9. Celestron - NexStar 4SE Telescope
(Best Computerized Pick)
- Type: Maksutov Cassegrain
- Aperture: 102 mm / 4.1″
- Focal length: 1325 mm
- Focal Ratio: f/13
- Mount: Motorized; Alt-Azimuth Single Fork
- Eyepiece: 25mm
- Weight: 21.0 lb (9.5 kg)
Among smaller and more portable scopes, the Celestron NexStar 4SE is regarded as one of the best-computerized telescopes for teenagers.
Celestron’s NexStar 4SE is a great choice telescope for an older kid who simply wants to enjoy views of the moon, stars and planets without the hassle and fuss of complicated setup, collimation, or locating and tracking objects manually.
Celestron has equipped the 4SE with its SkyAlign system for pointing and tracking the 40,000 objects in its database.
You can select any sky object from its exhaustive database and the motorized mount will slew the telescope around to point at the object you’ve chosen.
Once in your eyepiece, the motor will track it as it moves across the sky so you don’t lose sight of it.
You can read the Celestron NexStar 4SE full-length review here.
By using a simple controller and entering in the right coordinates, you can track pretty much any object in the night sky – this is why it’s so commonly recommended for kids and beginners to start with a telescope like this. It eliminates the need to spend ages working out how to find a specific star.
Sadly, the 4” aperture of this telescope is too small to show you all the 40,000 objects in the database. But it can show you crisp views of the moon and planets.
You can easily see lunar details as well as the phases of Venus and Mercury. Jupiter’s cloud belts, polar and equatorial zones, and Great Red Spot are visible, and its four largest moons, the Galilean Moons too can be seen.
Saturn’s rings and the Cassini division too are clearly visible with the Celestron NexStar 4SE.
If you want to get your feet wet with astrophotography, the 4SE has a camera control option. It helps you take a series of long-duration exposures with your CCD or DSLR camera.
The 4SE is small and light, and the tripod folds so easily, so an older kid or a teenager can easily carry it to their favorite viewing spot.
- Very sharp optics
- Quality stable mount
- Decent size aperture
- Good quality eyepiece
- No collimation required
Drains batteries quickly
10. Celestron - AstroMaster 130EQ
(Most Powerful Option)
- Type: Reflector
- Aperture: 130 mm(5.1″)
- Focal length: 650mm
- Focal Ratio: f/5
- Mount: Equatorial
- Eyepiece: 20mm, 10mm
- Magnification: 32.5x, 65x
- Weight: 28.0 lbs.(12.7 kg)
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 kids and teenagers are going to love its 5-inch large aperture.
The kinds of objects this telescope is going to be best at spotting are going to be distant stars, star clusters, nebula, other galaxies, and intergalactic dust clouds.
You can see the moon, Jupiter, it’s red spot, and even its cloud bands. Saturn’s rings and the color of the planet are also visible at the max magnification.
You’ll be able to make out a good amount of detail on mars, brighter Nebulae, star clusters, Andromeda, and a few other galaxies.
The AstroMaster 130EQ comes with a CG-3 equatorial mount, two eyepieces – a 20mm and 10mm – which work with the optical system to provide magnifications and 33x and 65x, red-dot finderscope, and a sturdy stainless steel tripod.
A manual is also supplied, ensuring that the skywatcher can set up and collimate the instrument with ease and assembly takes no more than about 20 minutes.
Using the included Starry Night software, teenagers and children can learn more about different sky objects, our solar system, and the night sky, as well as what you have to do on your next star-gazing session.
his scope weighs about 20lbs when assembled, which makes it quite portable and easy to carry for an older kid on a family outing.
The main advantage of it is, of course, the price, so it’s affordable for a beginner or something that your entire family can use at home. And for this price, you get a grown-up telescope that will serve you for many years.
- Very good optics
- Decently priced telescope
- Suitable for beginners as well as advanced users
- Great light gathering ability
- Lightweight and simple to use
- Doesn’t come with an instruction manual
- Not many included accessories
11. Celestron – StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ
(Best Smartphone Enabled Pick)
- Type: Achromatic refractor
- Aperture: 4” (102 mm)
- Focal length: 25” (660 mm)
- Focal ratio: f/6.5
- Mount type: Alt-azimuth
- Highest useful magnification: 240x
- Lowest useful magnification: 16x
- Weight: 14.2 lbs. (6.44 kg)
The Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ Smart Refractor Telescope is a 102mm refractor telescope with a classic altazimuth mount that is equipped with their newest StarSense technology package.
This telescope is perfect for all beginners, including kids ages 10 and up, and also experienced amateur astronomers looking for a grab-and-go telescope.
StarSense technology works off your smartphone rather than an internal database.
Once you hook your phone up to the StarSense dock, you launch the app and sync your phone up to the telescope.
Once everything is synced up, the app will automatically queue up a list of readily visible objects based on a bunch of information.
That includes your location, the season, and the current position of all celestial objects.
After you pick an object, on your phone, from the list of best visible objects, the app will guide you to the object using a system of arrows.
Once the telescope is manually aligned, your screen will let you know and you can begin viewing.
Older kids and teenagers will find this technology extremely fascinating and useful at the same time.
This refractor scope can also double as a terrestrial scope with the help of the included erect image diagonal.
As a very lightweight setup, the DX 102 will be a joy to take to a different location. It’s rather compact and lightweight, and it can be used by older children that have an interest in astronomy.
The mount is a simple manual alt-azimuth mount. It’s easy to use for beginners, has slow-motion controls on both axes, and comes with the bracket needed to dock the smartphone.
With this telescope, you get Kellner 25 mm and 10 mm eyepieces providing 26x and 66x magnification.
- Easy to use
- StarSense Explorer technology is helpful in locating targets
- Decent size aperture
- Versatile and durable design
- New technology may sometimes have some bugs
- Chromatic aberration
Important Features of a Telescope
There are various features and functionalities of a telescope, but the four main elements of a telescope matter the most.
- Focal Length
- Focal Ratio
Aperture is the diameter, usually measured in millimeters, of the objective (primary) lens or mirror of the telescope. Essentially, the larger the aperture, the brighter images will appear, and the deeper into space you will be able to see.
2. Focal Length
Focal length is the measurement in millimeters from the objective to the eyepiece and it determines the magnification of an object when you pair your telescope with an eyepiece. This is why eyepieces are listed with millimeter measurements the same way focal lengths are listed with millimeter measurements.
3. Focal Ratio
The focal ratio is the focal length divided by the aperture size of the telescope. A long focal ratio implies higher magnification and a 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. The wide field telescopes have a focal ratio of f/7 or less.
To get an image suitable for observing with our eyes, a telescope uses a second lens, or a 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 a focal length of 1200 mm (about 48”) and it has an eyepiece of the focal length of 25 mm (about 1”), then it will have a magnification of 1200/25=48x. Nearly all telescopes allow you to change eyepieces to get different magnifications.
Types of Telescopes
While telescopes come in many different forms, there are three general types to choose from – Reflector, Refractor, & Catadioptric or compound telescopes.
The reflector makes use of mirrors while the refractor utilizes lenses as their optical material, and catadioptric uses both mirrors and lenses.
The reflector uses glossy surfaced mirrors to gather light, after which it then cast a reflection of the image. The light collected at the rear mirror is transmitted into the eyepiece.
The refractors utilize various lenses to gather the light which it then reflects to the eyepiece. Refractors are able to transmit 90% of the light rallied in them. They are long-lasting and easy to maintain.
Since refractors require almost no maintenance and are easy to maintain, they are the best kind of telescopes for a kid or the whole family.
Compound telescopes use both lenses and mirrors to gather light, and they’re quite portable because their tubes are more compact and lighter. The most popular designs are Schmidt-Cassegrains and Maksutov-Cassegrains.
Catadipotrics have a slight learning curve so these are the best telescopes for teens and older children.
How To Choose a Telescope For Kids
Looking at the night sky can be an inspiring moment for not just for youngsters but for the entire family, and the right telescope can drive an interest in skywatching for a lifetime.
Children can be especially awed by the power of a telescope. Instead of reading dry facts about space in their school textbooks, they can turn astronomy into a living subject right before their eyes.
Moreover, with a good telescope for the family, stargazing from your home’s backyard or balcony can be one of the most enjoyable things you can do with your entire family.
Here are a few things that you should consider before picking out a telescope that is perfectly suitable for your child and the entire family.
Factors to consider when buying the Best Telescope for Kids
1. Your kid’s & family’s expectations
When you’re trying to pick the best telescope for your kid and the family, the first thing to consider is what exactly do you expect from the telescope. How you, your child, and your family are going to use it.
You also need to ask yourself how long do you or your child intend to use the telescope.
Toy telescopes might be better for entertainment purposes but it will only have a useful life of two or three years before kids outgrow them. A real telescope, on the other hand, will be more useful and it will last longer.
Remember that what a 12-year-old kid needs from a telescope is different from that of a 6-year-old.
2. Quality of the telescope
The quality of the telescope directly depends on its price. The more you spend on a telescope, the better quality scope you can expect to buy.
But, since you are going to buy a telescope for your child, you don’t need a professional telescope that might burn a hole in your pocket. You only require one that will fulfill the needs of your family.
That said, I highly recommend avoiding toy telescopes, department store telescopes, and really anything you might find at a general retail store.
3. Included Accessories
Since you are buying a telescope for your kid, you are not going to need a lot of accessories. So, don’t waste your money on buying a telescope that comes with a lot of additional things.
When it comes to essential accessories, all you need in a good family-friendly telescope are – 1-2 eyepieces, tripod, and tools for telescope assembly.
Most models that I have picked for this list of the best telescopes for kids & families come with at least 2 eyepieces, a carry bag, tripod, assembly tools, smartphone adapter, and a Barlow lens.
4. Weight & Portability
Since stargazing and celestial adventures take place outdoors, you will need a telescope that your kid or teenager can easily carry and move outside and store away afterwards.
Most of the telescopes are light and compact. It is the mounts, steel tripods, counter weights, and additional accessories that make the entire set bulky.
If you plan to take the telescope out into the yard, you’ll want one which can be mounted on a tripod.
If your child might want to take their telescope to camp, on a camping trip, or any other place away from home, you’ll need to ensure the telescope is easily portable.
Safety Tips for Kids When Using a Telescope
When buying a telescope for kids, you must brief them on the following safety aspects before allowing them to use it without any supervision.
Instruct the children to never look directly at the sun through the telescope without using a solar filter. This can result in very serious damage to their eyes.
Ask the children to use a torch with a red light at night (this prevents you from losing your night vision). Some shielded lighting (or Moon) helps you move around more safely.
Make sure that children never use the telescope near a pool, steps, or edge of a building without supervision.
Tips For Maintaining a Kid’s Telescope
If you’re purchasing one of the refractor telescopes in this review, you don’t have to worry about maintaining your telescope.
There’s no need for calibrating mirrors or lenses, and the lens chamber comes sealed against penetration by dust and water.
The most you’ll need to do to maintain your telescope is to wipe the lenses with a microfiber cloth before and after every viewing session.
Wipe down the body of the telescope using a damp cloth. Make sure you only clean the lenses with a microfiber cloth.
Using a cloth with stiff materials may scratch the lens, ruining your telescope.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
At what age can a child use a telescope?
Children from the age of four can start using a telescope under parental guidance and supervision. Four-year-old children can use what are known as toy telescopes while kids who are seven years old and up can use the “real” telescopes as they will have the ability to set them up and they can understand how to use them.
Should you buy a kid’s telescope instead of a regular telescope?
If you have a toddler, only then does it make sense to buy a kid’s toy telescope, as you don’t have to invest much in it. Toy telescopes don’t last too long, and a child outgrows it quickly.
A regular small telescope is a better option if your child and the entire family are interested in astronomy. Once you buy a regular telescope for the whole family, you’re set for a few years, and you don’t need to upgrade your telescope by buying a new one.
What is a good starter telescope for a child?
The Celestron – 70mm Travel Scope is a good starter telescope for a child. It is easy-to-setup and use and has pretty decent optics considering its low price. Moreover, it comes from a reputed brand which has been in the telescope market for decades.
What is the difference between a terrestrial and celestial telescope?
A celestial telescope can only be used at night to observe celestial objects’ night sky. A celestial telescope typically produces images that are inverted, which is not an issue when observing the moon or the planets.
A terrestrial telescope, on the other hand, produces images that are not inverted, which is essential for viewing terrestrial land-based objects.
A terrestrial telescope has an erect image diagonal which helps it in producing right-side-up images when viewing distant land-based objects.
Can adults use telescopes for kids?
Yes, telescopes for kids can be used by adults. Kids’ telescopes are also fully-functioning real telescopes that can be used by everyone in the family including adults. They are typically less powerful than telescopes designed for advanced users, so don’t expect to see crisp views of deep-sky objects.
How do I choose a telescope for kids?
When choosing a telescope for kids, make sure that the telescope is easy-to-setup and can be used with minimum supervision. A kid’s telescope should be lightweight and should be able to withstand a little bit of knocking around. This is the reason why refractor telescopes are the best telescopes for children.
Can a 5-year-old use a telescope?
Yes, a 5-year-old child can start using a telescope under parental supervision. Make sure that the telescope isn’t too heavy or complicated to use.
What is a good magnification for a kid’s telescope?
A 70mm telescope with a highest useful magnification of 160x is good enough for a kid’s telescope.
Which telescope is best for home use?
The Celestron – StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ is a great telescope for home use. You can link your smartphone to the telescope which makes it extremely easy to locate objects in the sky. This is a perfect smartphone-enabled telescope for beginners or teenagers to use at home.
What is the most powerful telescope for home use?
The Celestron – AstroMaster 130EQ on our list is quite a powerful telescope for home use. It’s a powerful reflector telescope for astronomy beginners. It features fully-coated glass optics, a large 130mm aperture, a sturdy and lightweight frame, 2 eyepieces, a StarPointer red dot finderscope, and an adjustable tripod.
How do I choose a telescope for my home?
The best telescope for home is one that guides you and your family through the process of learning the night sky in a straightforward and gratifying way. Make sure the telescope for home use has a decent aperture size, focal length, focal ratio, and a good amount of useful magnification.
I hope this article helped you in finding your best telescope for kids that you can use along with your family and friends and organize stargazing parties right in your home’s backyard.
Remember that a good telescope for kids needs to be easy to use, effective (i.e. you can see exciting stuff through it), robust, and not too expensive.
So, to nurture your child’s inquisitive nature get them a telescope that your whole family can enjoy at home. You won’t regret it. You’ll be opening up a whole new world to them.