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Best Telescope Under 200 – A Comprehensive Review

Telescopes are a very personal choice. With the information contained on this site, we are going to help you gain a much more balanced view when you decide to choose the best telescope under 200. As you see across the site, we try to make the criteria for identifying the best telescope as straightforward as possible. This will ensure you don't have any unnecessary confusion.

We spend time so you don't have to!

We spend a good week or so reviewing each telescope. This means that you don’t have to!  We have also  formulated a scoring system based on an eight-part system. This system looks into telescope type, aperture, weight, mount, difficulty rating, objects observable M, P, N (Moon, Planets, Nebula) and price. Once all the detail is analysed it leads to an overall score.

This particular post looks at choosing the best telescope under 200 dollars.  Why might you want to select a telescope at that price point? Well, there are many reasons, but at this kind of level, you are more likely to be a beginner astronomer.

If you can source a good all round telescope with large mirrors within this price bracket, then that is an excellent start for a budding astronomer! I do hear from some people that a good beginner telescope can start at $400, but I have to disagree slightly. We have conducted significant research and I am pleased to say that it is possible to get the best telescope for under 200 at entry level.


What are the base level requirements of a best telescope under 200 dollars?

  • Good Optics
  • A Smooth Working Mount

Aperture is a hole within a lens, through which light travels into the telescope. Measurements are usually in millimeters. A recommendation is to select a telescope with at least 70mm. However, if you can find a best  telescope under 200 dollars with a higher aperture, then you can see larger, fainter objects.

Sometimes even with a fantastic telescope you still have the challenge of light pollution. To avoid this when you do get out there and observe, try and find a dark location. if you can be away from city lights, great! Also, to mention that if you are in a dark space, then even a smaller telescope can show some great sights, even potentially spotting galaxies past our milky way!

If you decide on a bigger telescope, they are likely to weigh more. You will be able to see fainter objects in space, and generally, you will find them easier to use than a smaller one. As with any choice, you do have to determine what is right for you and if you want it to be easily transported, then that must be part of your decision making process.

Which is the right telescope for me? 

best telescope under 200 dollars

There are three basic telescope designs.  Depending on design and quality of telescope will depend on what you can see.

Refractor Telescope

Many amateurs prefer this type of telescope because of their ease of use.  A refractor telescope is generally a sealed unit. It does not require the same level of maintenance as a reflector which we will talk about shortly.  Optics on a refractor may need a little adjustment but is still ideal for beginners.

A refractor contains a convex glass objective lens mounted close to the front of the telescope tube. What happens is light from distant objects such as planets are refracted. Then it is the job of the eyepiece to enlarge the image onto our retina. You can buy additional eyepieces, which would allow different magnification.

Pros of a refractor telescope

  • Once setup there is less chance for the optical system to be misaligned
  • Less need for cleaning as the glass surface inside the tube is sealed
  • Great option for distant terrestrial viewing

Cons of a refractor telescope

  • Most suffer with chromatic aberration which produces a rainbow of colors around the image
  • Expensive when you go for larger apertures
  • As the aperture increases the telescope is usually heavier and not as portable
Did you know telescope for 200 or less

Galileo’s first refractor telescope was completed in 1609 but he was not the inventor of the telescope as is commonly thought.

Reflector Telescope

Most telescopes used by astronomers today are reflectors, also commonly known as Newtonion telescopes. One mirror is used to capture an image while the other one is used to reflect the image from the first mirror.

Some suggest that a reflecting scope would be the best telescope under 200 dollars because of the clearer picture and they are cheaper to make. However, even though that can be the case, more economical refractors can be just as good.

Did you know telescope for 200 or less

The Hubble telescope is a reflector telescope?

nasa hubble telescope

Pros of a reflector telescope

  • Do not suffer from chromatic aberration
  • Compact and portable 
  • Larger available apertures so it is excellent for seeing deep space objects

Cons of a reflector telescope

  • Regular cleaning of the optics required
  • Mirrors require realignment regularly
  • Objects can be obstructed by the secondary mirror

Compound Telescope

Compound telescopes are a hybrid of both reflectors and refractors.  I should tell you now that getting the best telescope under 200  which is a compound telescope is going to be near impossible.

I searched far and wide for some options and feel it is not worth mentioning any of the findings. The compound telescope combines many of the best features of both refractor and reflectors but also has some features that are not very useful.

This telescope has a primary mirror at the back and a glass corrector at the front to remove spherical aberration. This telescope is used mainly for photography due to the lack of a secondary mirror. These telescopes have varying price levels and can be bulky but are a fantastic way of viewing faint objects such as nebulas.

Pros of a compound telescope

  • Large aperture
  • Long focal length good for viewing small targets
  • Can be quite compact and easy to transport

Cons of a compound telescope

  • Generally expensive
  • Can lose sight of objects due to secondary mirror
  • Regular collimation needed

Our Best Telescope Under 200 Dollars

Here are our top ten best telescopes under 200 and then to follow our top three.  We will also soon have some great articles on telescopes in higher price brackets. If you sign up to our mailing list we can let you know as soon as these articles are available.

ProductTypeApertureWeightMountDifficulty Rating
1 = easy
M, P, NPriceOverall Score
Gskyer Telescope, AZ70400 German Technology Astronomy Telescope, Travel RefractorRefractor70mm7lbsAltazimuth 3M, P$3.8
Celestron 31042 AstroMaster 114 EQ Reflector TelescopeReflector114mm17lbsEquatorial2M, P, N$$4.2
Meade Instruments 216002 Polaris 80 EQ Refractor Telescope (Blue)Refractor80mm18lbsEquatorial3M, P$$3
Orion SkyScanner 100mm Reflector Telescope and Tripod BundleReflector100mm6.2lbsTabletop/altazimuth1M,P$4
Meade Instruments Infinity 80mm AZ Refractor Telescope

Refractor80mm10.8lbsAltazimuth2M, P, N$$4.5
Celestron 31036 AstroMaster LT 76AZ Breathtaking Views, Astronomical Telescope, BlueReflector76mm15lbsAltazimuth3M, P$$3
Celestron 21079 Cometron 114AZ Telescope (White)

Orion 10015 StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Reflector114mm13lbsDobsonian1M, P$$4
Orion StarBlast II 4.5 Equatorial Reflector TelescopeReflector114mm20.7lbsEquatorial3M, P$$2
Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ TelescopeReflector127mm21.38lbsEquatorial3M,P$3

Our Star Buy!

Meade Instruments Infinity 80mm AZ Refractor Telescope Review is the best telescope under 200 dollars!

This is a testament that you don't have to spend lots of money to get a quality telescope to work for you. At $190, this Meade Instruments Infinity 80mm AZ Refractor telescope provides you with what you need for getting a decent view of the skies. The design features an 80mm aperture and a 400mm focal length, but there's more to this Meade telescope than what you might expect.

Meade 80mm
Careful Controls

The first thing to notice about this Meade telescope is how straight forward the control setup is. The altazimuth mount offers slow-motion controls to keep the unit from moving too fast, plus the aluminum mount setup provides an adjustable height which is really convenient.

This design is so easy to follow which means the installation is quick! 

Easy to Use Eyepieces

You'll have a straightforward time seeing things through this telescope. The eyepieces are 1.25 inches in size, and you will be pleased to see (pardon the pun) that three eyepieces are included and are all very easy to apply. 

The three eyepieces are 26, 9, and 6.3 mm sizes. This provides different viewing strengths for certain types of objects. These include one eyepiece dedicated to careful moon views and others for further views.

A Lightweight Choice

The design of this telescope makes for a simple setup that is easy to handle. It only weighs about twelve pounds! This lightweight will provide you with extra control. The compact body of the telescope also helps you move it around anywhere.

Fully Coated Optics

The optics included are smooth and really simple to maintain. They are fully coated to ensure minimal smear. It is best to use these optics in dry conditions, although it should not be hard to clean in other situations.

2x Barlow Feature

A 2x Barlow setup at 1.25 inches is included in this setup. The design offers a concave lens that improves upon the magnification of the telescope. The simple way it connects links directly to the eyepiece and will provide you with comfortable viewing.

Pros of the Meade Instruments Infinity 80mm AZ Refractor Telescope?

  • Easy to replace the eyepieces
  • The control mechanism doesn't move too fast
  • The clear display on the pointer lets you know what you are looking at with ease

Cons of the Meade Instruments Infinity 80mm AZ Refractor Telescope?

  • The red dot viewfinder might shift around at times
  • The mount takes a bit to set up
  • The software program that comes with the telescope isn't as useful as it could be

You will enjoy how well the Mead Instruments Infinity telescope works. This is an outstanding model for the price and easily hits the top spot for the best telescope under 200. The interface is super simple and is easy to use which gives you the control that you deserve when looking deep into the skies.

Total Score: 4.5 out of 5

Celestron 31042 AstroMaster 114 EQ Reflection Telescope Review

You will enjoy seeing things from afar when you use the Celestron 31042 AstroMaster 114 EQ Reflection telescope. The design creates a powerful setup that makes it easier for you to see what is out there!

Fine Control Structure

The AstroMaster telescope utilizes a two-knob approach to control. The two knobs let you adjust the telescope slowly and carefully. The knobs separately control the ascension and declination axes. The EQ mount provides you with help for managing the telescope as well.

A Helpful Aperture

The 114mm aperture will help to achieve greater success. The design offers enough room for gathering the light needed for making objects easier to see.

Better Linear View

You'll have an easy time seeing what's in your telescope lens when you use this model. The telescope works with a linear field of view of about 53 feet from 1,000 yards away. This should give you enough space to see things without having to shift the telescope around many times over. But the good news is that even with this, you will not struggle to try to move it around.

A Closer Zoom

The telescope features a 1000mm focal length. The two eyepieces included, which are 20mm and 10mm in size, provide you with enough zoom to help you see more things from afar. The large aperture mainly helps you getting the 50x and 100x views.

You can use either of these eyepieces with the included StarPointer feature. The design of this feature helps you to find objects and will give you an easier time when reviewing what's out in the sky. You can use this with a small pointer feature on its body to help you target or pinpoint certain objects.

Works With Helpful Software

The Starry Night software program that this telescope comes with will help you identify many things in the night sky. You will find that it is not hard to get a good shot when you use this program to identify passing objects.

A Lightweight Choice

You will not struggle to handle the telescope. Celestron has made this telescope at around 17 pounds in weight. This is a light enough weight to allow the unit to be fully portable and easy to shift around anywhere you might go.

Pros of the Celestron 31042 AstroMaster 114 EQ Reflection Telescope

  • Easy to switch between lenses
  • The eyepiece feature is easy to handle and control
  • The control knobs are not too sensitive to your changes or adjustments

Cons of the Celestron 31042 AstroMaster 114 EQ Reflection Telescope

  • The mount included with this set is not that sturdy
  • May not work as well with laser assistance features
  • The star finder is not very effective
A Final Word

The Celestron AstroMaster will be an ideal telescope if you're looking for a quality model that provides a simple interface. The design of the telescope and its convenient functionality makes it one of the must have best telescope under 200 dollars.  You will definitely enjoy how well it works when you are looking to find detailed objects in the sky.

Total Score: 4.2 out of 5

Celestron 21079 Cometron 114AZ Telescope Review

Celestron produces various intriguing telescopes with the Cometron 114AZ telescope being an excellent choice and why this is in our range of a best telescope for 200 dollars. Designed with comets in mind, the Cometron telescope helps you track moving objects with ease.

A Short Model

You'll notice with the Cometron that this is a smaller telescope.  This telescope uses a 450mm focal length plus an aperture of 114mm. The 3.95 focal ratio features a good shot that works very quickly and the design ensures that you'll have more control.

The 10 and 20mm eyepieces provide enough room for you to see things from afar. The comfortable layout offers better control and view while focusing mainly on finding objects that are moving.

A Variety of Magnifications

The highest useful magnification on this telescope is at 269x. The lowest useful total is 16x. You'll have a better time reviewing how well items are moving when you adjust the control mechanism so you can get a better look at anything in a specific spot.

Panning Handle Control

You'll need a useful control setup that provides you with a closer look at what's out in the sky. You can use the alt-azimuth design with a panning handle to help you review the way comets or other items can move about in the sky. The added steel tripod ensures that you'll have more control over the telescope.

Amazingly Lightweight

You might be surprised at how well the telescope can work even when you're out in the wilderness. The telescope operates with a weight of about eight pounds. The mount also works as a height of about 46 inches, thus ensuring you've got a firm control over the telescope and how it may work.

Don't Forget the Software

The software used on this Celestron telescope is worth noting. The Starry Night program provides you with a guide for your use when aiming to review how well your telescope operates. You can use this to identify anything in the sky, although it helps to notice how specific patterns may develop in the sky based on what you are finding. The layout gives you a simple approach and will make your viewing effort easier for finding things in the night sky.

Pros of the Celestron 21079 Cometron 114AZ Telescope

  • Very light in weight
  • Works with an assortment of magnification levels
  • The firm stainless steel tripod keeps the telescope from shifting on its own

Cons of the Celestron 21079 Cometron 114AZ Telescope

  • Might be hard to secure the tripod to the ground
  • Requires a bit of extra training for allowing this to work
A Final Note

The Celestron 21079 Cometron 114AZ telescope can be found online for $180. At this price you can see why it is another good example of one of the best telescope under 200. It offers a good design that is easy to use and provides you with a great way to see things no matter what you might be interested in. You will be impressed with what makes this Celestron telescope so ideal for your use, especially to find moving items like comets.

Total Score: 4.2 out of 5


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