The 4 Best Telescopes Under 500$ in February 2023

Effie Crona
  Feb 1, 2023 7:29 PM

Have you ever looked upon the sky and wondered if you can see all the details there? We obviously have, and there is a solution for that. Scientists have invented an equipment called the telescopes. A telescope zooms in the images you see to the point when you can clearly see what's on the moon, on the sun, or other specific stars. The better the telescope is, the more vivid and further you can see of the images. In this article, we will talk about the specifications, how to choose the best telescopes under $500, and lastly, give out our final picks for the topic today - the best telescopes under 500.

Best Telescopes Under 500$ Reviews

1. Celestron - AstroMaster 102AZ Refractor Telescope

The first product today comes from the well-known brand called Celestron. Celestron - AstroMaster 102AZ Refractor Telescope was born into the premium AstroMaster family with the 102AZ codename.

The telescope features by default a 102 millimeter objective lens which is fully coated for scratch resistance and durability. The Altazimuth mount features a panning handle that would allow you to make precise adjustments in order to reach the point you want to observe.

The accessories included are two eyepieces with the focal lengths of 20mm and 10mm, a tripod for making it stand, a StarPointer red dot finderscope, and a free copy of Celestron Astronomical Program on computers. You will also get a two year warranty policy guaranteed by Celestron - one of the most famous telescope brands in the world since 1960.

  • 102mm objective lens diameter

  • Altazimuth mount

  • Two eyepieces included (20mm and 10mm)

  • Two years of warranty by Celestron

  • #1 telescope brand in the world since 1960

2. SVBONY SV503 Telescope

SVBONY SV503 Telescope is offered in three variants with three different objective lens diameters, including 70 millimeters, 80 millimeters, and 102 millimeters. It is designed with an ED glass to give you a crystal clear image and true colors. The telescope features a dual-speed rack and pinion focuser that has a 1:10 focusing ratio.

The optics are multi-coated for attracting more lights into the eyepieces. On the outside, the telescope is made with top-quality materials and fine-grained paint, which has been cut by CNC machines with premium precision. To conclude, this telescope is perfect for any beginners or intermediate level astrophotographers out there, because of the price and the premium quality.

  • Fully coated ED glasses

  • 1:10 dual-speed rack focuser

  • 8.7 pounds

  • 3 objective lens diameter variations: 70mm, 80mm, 102mm.

3. Orion 27191 StarBlast 6i IntelliScope Reflector Telescope

If you remember something from high school’s astrology, you would know that Orion is one of the brightest constellations we can see in the night sky. Orion, by the brand name, is a respected brand in the field of manufacturing telescopes for years.

This Orion 27191 StarBlast 6i IntelliScope Reflector Telescope features a 150 millimeter objective lens and weighs 23.5 pounds. The lenses are coated fully in aluminum and silicon dioxide. The lens has a focal length of 750 millimeters that would allow you to see any of the 14000 celestial objects with ease by the intelliScope COmputerized Object Locator copyrighted by Orion.

The lens is said to be lasting over 13 years; the accessories included in the package are two eyepieces with 25mm and 10mm diameters, an EZ finder II aiming device, an eyepiece rack, and the Starry Night software.

  • Really cool brand

  • 150 objective lens diameter

  • 750 millimeters

  • Lots of accessories

4. Meade Instruments – StarPro AZ 80mm

Meade Instruments – StarPro AZ 80mm is the choice of budget in our list today. Because of the price, the telescope is made for portable uses with just the item weight of a little over 10 pounds. It features an 80 millimeter objective lens which is fully coated by Aluminum and Silicon Dioxide.

The focal length is measured to be 900mm. The telescope is compatible with Altazimuth Mount and barlow eyepiece lenses. We have 3 eyepieces included in the package, which are 26mm wide, 9 millimeter wide and 6.3 millimeter wide.

  • 3 eyepieces included

  • 900mm focal length

  • Light weight

  • Affordable price

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Buying Guide

1. The diameters of the objective lens

To buy a telescope, the first thing you have to think about is the diameter of the lens. We are going to explain to you, in this section, about the importance of the diameter, and how it affects the way you use the telescope.

A telescope is designed to look far away than a normal camera. It is manufactured to look through the moon, the sun, and other planets such as Mars, Jupiter. Although the diameters don’t directly impact on the zooming function of the telescope, they affect the image quality.

To put it plainly, with the same magnification level, the bigger objective lens diameters would be capable of capturing more lights and bright images, thus, resulting in more vivid and detailed images. However, in return for that, you have to carry around a big, knobby lens. The list below is of the ranges of objective lens diameters:

  • Below 25mm: Compact-type binoculars

  • 30 - 49mm: Standard binoculars

  • Over 50mm: For astronomical and business use

Although 50mm is defined to be enough for astronomical uses, the lenses we introduce in the article today are usually bigger than 100mm, for the best bright lights and detailed images.

2. The frame

The frame is what structurizes the telescope. Choosing a good frame would result in two good things: The toughness of the telescope, or in other words, the durability, and the lightweightness of the telescope. For a telescope, moving around is an everyday thing; therefore, a good telescope is one that is light and durable. These are the most popular types of frame in a telescope:

  • Aluminum frame: Aluminum is famous for the lightweight part; however, when it comes to durability, it could never be able to compare with steel.

  • Stainless steel: Stainless steel is tough, but it is heavy. Carrying around a steel telescope is never an ideal thing, so brands don’t usually choose steel over aluminum.

  • Silicon dioxide: This material is usually paired with aluminum to increase the strength of the frame. Silicon dioxide is light, tough and waterproof; therefore, it is widely used. Silicon dioxide is the main substance in the sand, and you know how good sands are.

3. The eyepiece

Apart from the objective lens, the eyepiece is the next important thing in a telescope. Theoretically, the objective lens collects lots of lights from far away and those lights would be concentrated into the focal point. The eyepiece is then gonna magnify the lights at the focal point for your eyes to see. Here is the list of popular eyepiece sizes:

  • 0.965 in. (24.5 mm): Found in retail telescopes for personal use. THis type of eyepiece is enough for watching the moon or near planets.

  • 1.25 in. (31.75 mm): Most popular telescope eyepiece diameters made for star watchers, planet watching sessions or meteor viewing.

  • 2 in. (50.8 mm): Usually more expensive than the two above sizes. This range of sizes is usually designed for professional observatories or laboratories.

  • 2.7 in. (68.58 mm): Made by a few manufacturers. They allow for slightly larger fields of view. 

  • 3 in. (76.2 mm): extremely high focal length and more than 120 degrees of viewing angle.

  • 4 in. (102 mm): made for professional laboratories and aren’t widely used by non-professional or non-scientists.

4. Compatibility

Buying a telescope, you would want your telescope to be compatible with accessories. Without accessories, the telescope would just be able to project the image it gets from the sky to your eyes. Equipped with some in the various ranges of accessories, you can take pictures out of a star from far away, you can record videos of astronomical events, or you can project the images to a TV. Here is a list of some common accessories for the telescopes:

  • Tripod compatibility: Tripod compatibility is extremely important. When you set up your telescope, you want the item to stand one hundred percent still because if the angle changes slightly by just 1 degree, you would lose the whole image or focusing point. Therefore, the first accessory for your telescope is the tripod or the mount. 

  • Camera compatibility: Cameras can be equipped into a telescope to let people take photos and capture videos out of the observations. However, the hard problem is that cameras are often heavy and hard to keep their balances on the tripod. Therefore, the camera or phone compatibility is crucial.

  • Eyepiece or objective lens interchangeability: Even if you haven’t thought of it, you don’t want to look at the same object or the same star all the time. That’s why the telescope should always allow you to change the objective lens, the eyepiece, or even get the frame replaced.

Finally, there are many more types of telescope accessories. You should give them a look in order to find the best telescopes for your astronomical needs


1. How can I calculate the magnification factor of my telescope?

We have to get the mathematics and physics involved to answer this question. A lens has several properties you need to know about before getting in to the calculations:

  • Focal point: The focal point is the point that every lens has. It defines a point when all the lights that come penticular with the lens have to go through. In other words, all the lights captured by the lens would fit into the focal point.

  • Focal plane: The focal plane parallels the lens’ plane and contains the focal point inside.

  • Focal length: The focal length is determined by the absolute distance between the focal plane and the lens’ plane. In other words, it is the distance between the center of the lens’ circle and the focal point.

Therefore, the magnification factor of the telescope, which consists of at least two lens (the objective lens and the eyepiece lens) is calculated using two following values:

  • The focal length of the objective lens (Fo)

  • The focal length of the eyepiece (Fe)

The magnification factor then is defined to be Fo divided by Fe.

2. Should I always choose the lens with bigger diameters?

No, you should not. The lens’ diameters would correspond with the amount of light it captures. To put it in perspective, the higher the diameter is, the more light the lens captures. In most cases, you would want more lights to be captured and shrink down; however, some specific situations might require just a sufficient amount of light be captured.

3. Can I replace parts of my telescope?

Yes, you have the right to replace parts of your telescope. However, as we have talked about earlier, you must have some knowledge in the field of physics, optics, or astronomical experience to be able to understand the values and choose the right settings for your telescope. Otherwise, you would just see an empty space with nothing interesting at all while you can learn to see the moon with a few adjustments.

4. What about the warranty?

The telescopes are usually warranted for two years. However, it usually depends on the way you use your device. The lenses are usually coated to resist scratches or damage in using sessions. Therefore, in case you drop it to the ground, we could not think of a situation when you have to take the telescope to a service center.

5. How should I maintain the telescopes’ quality?

The most important part of the telescope is the lenses. Telescopes usually come with protective lids for the lens, the racks for eyepieces, and cloth for cleaning the item. Cleaning the lens and the telescopes using water and normal cleansing substances would be fine in half the cases, but the procedures are not recommended.


These are the best telescopes under 500. We have talked about the specifications, the buying guides and our finest picks we have selected out of the online market. We have spent days of researching and considering between advantages and disadvantages for the list, so here is our final picks for the best telescopes under 500$:

That has wrapped up our article about the best telescopes under $500. We hope you had a fun time reading our article and making your purchase choice for your star watching season. Thank you for reading our recommendations and see your in the next ones!