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Best Telescopes Under $1000

Best Telescopes Under $1000 - 2019 Telescope Buying Guide

If you have been searching for a new or used telescope, you have no doubt been surprised by the huge number of choices out there.

Telescopes cost anywhere from under a $100 to $10,000 and more, but if you're like most of our customers, you want a scope that falls somewhere in the middle...but that's a BIG middle! Never fear! According to our amazing team of telescope experts at High Point Scientific, if you can invest between approximately $500 and $1000 on a visual telescope, you will end up with something that will serve you well for years to come.

The Best Telescopes for Sale Under $1000 Include:

  • Celestron NexStar 6SE Telescope Bundle - $899
  • Apertura 10" Dobsonian Telescope - $699.95
  • Meade EXT 125 Observer Telescope - $699
  • Explore Scientific AR102 Refractor with Twilight I Alt-Az Mount - $549.95
  • Celestron Omni XLT 150 Reflecting Telescope - $539.95

With that advice in mind, here is the short list when it comes to the best telescopes under $1000:

Celestron NexStar 6SE Telescope Bundle - $899

NexStar Telescope Under $1000

Next on the list is another NexStar SE, but this time it's a High Point telescope bundle for the NexStar 6SE, little brother to the top-selling NexStar 8. We continue to be impressed by the sharp 6" Schmidt-Cassegrain optics, the tried and true NexStar SE mount and intuitive GoTo hand controller with a 40,000 object library database, and the wonderful ecosystem of accessories that are available for this telescope, like the Celestron StarSense, which offers cutting-edge align assist technology, or the Celestron SkyPortal, for wireless control of your telescope via your smartphone and a free app that's available for both Apple and Android devices.

The fact that the Celestron NexStar 6SE can grow with you over time but works like a charm right out of the box is one of the many reasons why we recommend this telescope time and time again! In fact, we love it so much that we have created a specially priced bundle that provides you with $245 worth of essential accessories for only $99 more!

From awesome technology to the satisfaction that comes from a product that is easy to use, this Celestron NexStar 6SE is a telescope that does more than let you explore the night sky, it creates lasting memories that can be shared with those closest to you.


Meade EXT 125 Observer Telescope - $699

Meade ETX 125 Observer Telescope with Free Accessories

The Meade EXT-125 5" Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope is one of the most popular, portable telescopes ever made. You can place the ETX nearly anywhere...your porch, backyard, or deck...and use it for astronomy as well as daytime terrestrial observing! This 5" telescope, the largest in the Meade ETX Observer Series, comes equipped with a computerized GoTo mount to automatically find and track celestial objects for you. This is a popular feature of the Meade ETX, and it comes in really handy when you'd like to share the views with friends and family, but that's not all, the Meade ETX 125 is equipped with AudioStar!

The AudioStar® is a cutting-edge controller for Meade ETX telescopes, and like most computerized hand controllers, it stores a large database of objects (over 30,000) and can take you to their location with the push of a few buttons. However, the AudioStar is different because it can actually talk to you about the objects you observe, which is especially awesome if young children are observing with you! The Meade AudioStar is a fabulously interactive way for children, and people of all ages, to experience the glory of the Universe because, unlike a book or computer screen, you'll be looking at planets, galaxies, and nebulae with your own eyes!

You will love the optics of the Meade ETX 125 Observer! Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes are famous for their portability while yielding celestial images that are sharp and bright with velvety black background skies, similar to that of a much longer refractor. With 5" of light-gathering capability, this Meade ETX is great for viewing the moon and planets as well as bright deep-sky objects. It is easy to set up and use, making the Meade ETX 125 ideal for beginners, but more experienced amateur astronomers love it as well, especially for travel. No wonder this portable, powerful telescope is so popular! Oh, by the way, if you love the idea of an ETX and the AudioStar but can't quite swing $699, check out the Meade ETX 90 at just $499.


Apertura 10" Dobsonian Telescope - $699.95

Apertura 10" Dobsonian Telescope

The Apertura 10" Dobsonian Telescope is our team's favorite manual telescope on the Best Telescopes list. The huge 10" primary mirror opens up the Universe, providing access to thousands of celestial objects, and the "fast" f/5 focal ratio displays a pleasingly wide field of view when observing the night sky.

Sitting on a simple Dobsonian alt-azimuth mount, the Apertura 10" Newtonian is an excellent telescope to help you learn the location of celestial objects in the sky by "star-hopping". It is great for beginners since learning how to use the Apertura Dob takes just a few minutes. Older children LOVE a Dobsonian because they can push it around and discover the Universe with their own eyes, without help from their elders. More seasoned amateur astronomers enjoy a "light-bucket" Dobsonian for its low price per inch of aperture, it's stealth-like silence, and because there are no bells and whistles to get between the astronomer and the night sky.

From your first time out under the stars with this telescope, the Apertura 10" Dobsonian will be sure to prove itself with the smooth action of the mount, the easy setup, and the breathtaking views that the 10" aperture provides. Whether you go hard-core and explore the Universe with a simple planisphere or star chart or you cheat a little and splurge for an app that will help you find objects, the Apertura will become a trusted companion on your journey to becoming intimately familiar with the wonders of the universe.


Explore Scientific AR102 Refractor with Twilight I Alt-Az Mount - $549.95

Explore Scientific 102 Refractor on Twilight Mount

Any "Best Telescopes Under $1000" list would not be complete without a good quality refractor, and the Explore 102 mm Doublet telescope is one of our favorites for many reasons. First of all, we have an Explore AR102 set up at the High Point office so we can do a little observing at a moment's notice.

Our staff loves the Explore Twilight 1 Alt-Azimuth Mount for its ease-of-use, stability, and smooth movement. Most anyone can set this telescope up and learn to use it in a few minutes. Simply place the Twilight I mount and tripod, which weighs a mere 7 pounds, in your favorite location, attach the AR102 OTA (about 10 pounds) to the mount, slide in the included diagonal, add an eyepiece (sold separately), and voila, you are ready to observe!

The Explore Scientific 102 mm f/6.5 classic refractor provides sharp, high contrast images of terrestrial objects as well as celestial wonders like Saturn, Jupiter, the Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy, and more. With 4" of aperture, you will be amazed at how many planets, stars, and deep-sky objects you can see! Just add a star chart, a few eyepieces, and a solar filter if you want to view the Sun, and this very versatile refractor will show you our incredible Universe for years to come.


Celestron Omni XLT 150 Reflecting Telescope - $539.95

Celestron Omni XLT 150 Reflector Telescope

If you dream of learning the night sky like the back of your hand, the Celestron Omni XLT 150 Reflecting Telescope is perfect for you. Unlike a fully computerized telescope, the classic manual equatorial mount of the Omni XLT 150 puts you in control at all times. Without the aid of computerization, you will actually learn the constellations and the location of your favorite objects, and in time, the sky will become a well-known friend.

The Celestron Omni XLT equatorial mount and 6" Newtonian telescope are easy and quick to assemble. Telescope movement is smooth and silent, and with 6" of aperture, you'll experience the thrill of finding a wide array of galaxies, nebulae, star clusters, and of course, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus, and more with the Celestron Omni XLT 150.

Successfully tracking a night sky object on your own can be fun and give you a sense of accomplishment, but when you're ready, it's good to know that the Celestron Omni XLT 150 equatorial mount is compatible with the optional Celestron CG-4 Dual-Axis Drive System. Adding the motor upgrade to your telescope will allow the mount to compensate for the earth's rotation and track an object's movement across the sky, opening up the exciting and fun world of astrophotography.

With the perfect combination of large 6" optics, durability, and a classic equatorial mount, the Celestron Omni XLT 150 Telescope is a long-lasting scientific tool that will create memories and help you acquire knowledge that will last a lifetime. With the Omni XLT 150, the mysteries of the Universe are only a quick and easy set-up away.


Honorable Mention: Celestron NexStar 8SE Computerized Telescope - $1199

Best Telescope Under $1000

We know that the NexStar 8SE is priced over $1000, but please, here us out! The Celestron 8" NexStar SE is on the short list for the High Point Top Telescope of All-Time! Seriously. We get calls all day long from folks who want us to recommend an all-around great telescope that they won't outgrow in a year or two; something that has enough aperture to really delve into deep space but also does a beautiful job on the planets, and that isn't too big or too heavy to transport and set up easily. Time and time again, the telescope we recommend is the Celestron NexStar 8SE.

What's the difference between the NexStar 6SE (number two on our list!) and it's big brother, the NexStar 8SE? Aperture. The optics of an 8" telescope offer 70% more surface area than that of a 6" telescope, and that's a big deal. For instance, if you played dueling telescopes and compared views of a chosen galaxy, nebulae, or star cluster through the same eyepiece on the same night, the 8" would win, hand's down. Larger optics, assuming everything else is equal, will almost always produce brighter images and show more detail in deep-sky objects, especially in faint areas that might be elusive in smaller telescopes.

Is that worth a couple hundred dollars more? It depends. If you just want to have some fun with a telescope or are buying it for someone that may or may not be all that interested in astronomy, a lesser telescope will probably do, but if the idea of having a computerized GoTo telescope that is big enough to do some serious amateur astronomy for years to come excites you, we suggest that you consider the Celestron NexStar 8SE. It has all the fine qualities of the smaller NexStar 6SE, including time-tested electronics and easy-to-use computerization, but with 70% more light-gathering. What's not to like?