How much should a beginner spend on a telescope

As a beginner, it can be overwhelming to navigate the numerous options available when it comes to purchasing a telescope. It’s important to remember that a high price tag does not necessarily equate to a high-quality instrument. There are many telescopes on the market that offer excellent views of the night sky at a more affordable price. We’ll explore the factors that you should consider when deciding how much to spend on a telescope, and provide some guidelines for budgeting.

General guide

Budget RangeType of TelescopeProsConsRecommended For
Under $100Small Refractors or ReflectorsAffordable, portable, easy to useLimited capabilities, lower quality opticsAbsolute beginners, children, casual stargazing
$100 – $300Quality Beginners’ TelescopesBetter optics, more featuresStill limited for advanced useSerious beginners, amateur astronomers
$300 – $600Mid-Range Reflectors/RefractorsGood balance of quality and priceMay require additional accessoriesEnthusiasts looking for more detailed observations
$600 – $1,000Advanced Entry-Level TelescopesHigh-quality optics, more advanced featuresHigher cost, can be complex for absolute beginnersAmateur astronomers with a serious interest
Over $1,000High-End TelescopesProfessional-grade optics and featuresExpensive, possibly too complex for beginnersDedicated enthusiasts, semi-professional use
How much should a beginner spend on a telescope


One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a commercial telescope is the size of the aperture. The aperture is the diameter of the main lens or mirror. It determines the amount of light that the telescope can gather. A larger aperture will allow you to see fainter objects, and it will provide clearer and more detailed views . Larger apertures also tend to be more expensive, so it’s important to find a balance between aperture size and budget.

As a beginner, it’s recommended that you consider purchasing a telescope with an aperture of at least 70mm. This size of aperture will allow you to see the major planets and brighter deep-sky objects. If you have a larger budget, you may want to consider a telescope with an aperture of at least 80mm. It will provide even clearer views.

Focal Length

Another important factor to consider is the focal length of the telescope. The focal length is the distance from the main lens or mirror to the point where the light is focused. It determines the magnification of the telescope. A longer focal length will provide higher magnification, but it can also make it more difficult to find objects. When budgeting for a commercial telescope, you should consider purchasing one with a focal length of at least 400mm. This length will provide a good balance between magnification and ease of use. It will allow you to see a wide range of objects in the night sky.


In addition to the main telescope, there are also several accessories that you may need or want to purchase, such as eyepieces, finder scopes, and tripods. These can add to the cost, so it’s important to consider them when deciding how much to spend.

As a beginner, it’s recommended that you purchase a telescope that comes with at least two eyepieces and a finder scope. These accessories will allow you to see objects at different magnifications, and they will make it easier to locate objects in the night sky.

Recommended price range

Based on the factors discussed above, the recommended price range for a beginner commercial telescope is between $200 and $600. This range will provide a good balance between aperture size, focal length, and accessories, and it will allow you to purchase a quality instrument that will provide excellent views of the night sky.

If you have a smaller budget, you may want to consider purchasing a telescope with a smaller aperture, such as a 70mm or 76mm, which can be found for under $500. If you have a larger budget, you may want to consider purchasing a telescope with a larger aperture, such as an 80mm or 100mm, which can range from $300 to $600. It’s important to note that even within this price range, there is a wide range of quality and features available, so it’s recommended that you do your research and read customer reviews before making a purchase.

Deciding how much to spend on a commercial telescope as a beginner depends on several factors, including aperture size, focal length, accessories, and budget. A recommended price range for a beginner is between $200 and $600. This will provide a good balance between quality and affordability. When making your purchase, it’s important to consider your specific needs and interests, and to do your research to find the best option for you. With a little patience and research, you’ll be able to find the perfect telescope to help you explore the night sky and discover the wonders of the universe.

FAQ Section for “How Much Should a Beginner Spend on a Telescope?”

What’s a Reasonable Budget for a Beginner’s Telescope?

For beginners, a budget of $200-$600 can get you a decent entry-level telescope with adequate features for basic stargazing.

Is an Expensive Telescope Better for Beginners?

Not necessarily. Expensive telescopes often have complex features that may overwhelm beginners. Starting with a simpler, more affordable model is usually better.

Can I Find a Good Telescope Under $100?

While there are options under $100, they may have limitations in terms of optics and build quality. It’s often better to invest a bit more for a better experience.

What Should I Look for in a Beginner Telescope?

Look for a telescope with a sturdy mount, decent aperture size, and user-friendly features.

Are Refractors or Reflectors Better for Beginners?

Both have their merits. Refractors are generally low maintenance, while reflectors offer larger apertures for the price.

How Important is Aperture in a Beginner’s Telescope?

Aperture size is crucial as it determines how much light the telescope can gather, thus affecting image brightness and clarity.

Should I Consider Second-Hand Telescopes?

Second-hand telescopes can be a good option, but it’s important to check their condition and ensure they have all the necessary components.

Do I Need Additional Accessories?

Some additional accessories like eyepieces or a Barlow lens might be necessary for a better viewing experience.

Can I Use a Beginner Telescope for Astrophotography?

Basic astrophotography is possible with many beginner telescopes, especially those with a stable mount and good optics.

How Much Should I Allocate for Maintenance?

Most beginner telescopes require minimal maintenance, so the cost is usually low. However, it’s good to have a small budget for occasional cleaning or minor repairs.