Catadioptric telescopes combine the best of all worlds as it’s often referred to as a hybrid with a lens and mirror combination. Reflector and refractor telescopes offer unique advantages over the other and for those looking for the same benefits of each resort to an all-in-one combo package. These models often feature larger apertures with long focal lengths, and all while being portable and easy to move from place to place.
If you’re looking for a high-quality scope that works wonders in dark starry nights anywhere, anytime, then there’s only one type of telescope to choose. Catadioptric telescopes have become increasingly popular over the years and appeal to a wide array of users including beginners and experienced astronomers alike.
If you’re looking for the best of the best then the following review does that which focuses on the Top 10 Catadioptric Telescopes for Astronomy while giving you a breakdown of all the reasons why.
|Image||Product||Aperture||Max Focal Length||Rating||See Best Price|
|Celestron CPC 1100 StarBright XLT GPS Schmidt-Cassegrain 2800mm Telescope||280mm||2800mm||9.6|
|Orion 9825 Apex 127mm Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope||127mm|
|Celestron CPC 925 StarBright XLT GPS Schmidt-Cassegrain 2350mm Telescope||9.25-inch||2350mm||9.3|
|Celestron CPC 800 XLT Computerized Telescope w/Tube and Tripod||8-inch||2032mm||9.2|
|Meade Instruments 8-Inch LX90-ACF (f/10) Advanced Coma-Free Telescope||8-inch||2000mm||9.0|
|iOptron SmartStar-E-N114 8503B Astro Blue Computerized Telescope||114mm||1000mm||9.0|
|Celestron 22303 Ambassador 50 Brass Telescope||50mm||5000mm||8.9|
|Vixen 2604 R130Sf Telescope||130mm||650mm||8.9|
|Orion 10022 StarMax 90mm TableTop Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope||90mm||1250mm||8.4|
|Celestron NexStar Evolution 8 Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope with WIFI||7.99 Inch|
- Powerful for deep space viewing
- Skyline Feature offers simple alignment
- Large database
- Versatile, compatible with other accessories
- Great light gathering offers clear images
- Heavier unit, not as portable as others
Narrowing out the rest of the pack is a Cassegrain telescope from Celestron which has quickly become a top-seller. With near perfect consumer reviews, it’s easy to see why the PC 1100 scores a 9.6 out of 10 and is the top rated Catadioptric telescope this year. This Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope model is highlighted by an 11-inch diffraction.
The Celestron CPC 1100 features an altazimuth mount with a fully computerized dual fork arm. Other features include a GPS alignment, NexStar computer control technology, and boasts a 280mm aperture which gives you a focal length of 2800mm.
At this price, the CPC 1100 isn’t for everyone, but with three models to choose from including an 8 and 9-inch model there are other models to choose from.
- Good 1-year manufacturer warranty
- Does a great job collecting light
- Includes a carrying case making it highly portable
- Clear view improving clarity even at long distances
- Eyepiece provides maximum magnification
- Significant performance with daytime over nighttime usage
This Maksutov-Cassegrain model from Orion takes the 2nd spot in this review and is backed with all-positive consumer reviews. The Orion 9825 is a portable catadioptric telescope that gives you amazing celestial views during the day and night. This versatile scope has amazing magnification with crystal clear images that bring out the very best in astronomy.
The Orion 9825 Apex 127 is a hybrid telescope that comes in highly recommended for professionals while being simple enough to use for any beginner. Either an altazimuth or field tripod can be used which are not included, but provide a solid foundation that remains lightweight, and portable. Included is a 6×30 finder scope, Starry Night software, carrying case and a 1.25″ eyepiece for amazing astronomical use.
- Simple tool-less setup
- Powerful 59x magnification
- Portable connectivity with laptops and computers
- Simple to operate, even for beginners
- Auto alignment feature
- Not recommended for pro level use
The Celestron CPC 925 is not your average Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with a 2350mm aperture. This model comes in three different diffraction sizes including the most popular 9.25 along with an 8-inch and 11-inch model. Highlighted with an amazing altazimuth mount which provides superior control and tracking which is easy enough for any type of user.
The Celestron 925 StarBright XLT offers an ergonomic and comfortable design which makes it highly portable. For simplicity, the included remote control which includes NexStar computer control technology along with GPS alignment which instantly turns any beginner into an aspiring astronomer.
- Sturdy tripod
- High performance optics with Starbright XLT
- Internal GPS allows user to download Satellite data
- Internal baffling and low-magnification secondary mirror
- Durable aluminum tube construction
- Does not include a power cord
Another amazing catadioptic telescope is the CPC 800 XLT which is a computerized scope which includes the tube and tripod. This 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain is all you need to celestial objects at any distance bringing you amazing views of the moon, nebulas, and galaxies far, far away. With a focal length of 2032mm, you’re assured to get the best views from under any dark, starry night.
The Celestron CPC 800 XLT catadioptric telescope has well over 50 all-positive consumer reviews. This high-quality scope comes outfitted with an optical tube which is built from durable, lightweight aluminum construction. For ease of use and taking your astrological experience to a whole new level, SkyAlign alignment technology does just that.
- Modern, sleek design
- Lightweight and portable
- Ideal for beginners, simple to use
- Features automatic alignment
- GPS sensors allows tracking of celestial objects
- Batteries not included and needed
Meade-Instruments introduced the LX90-ACF which is available in three sizes including 8, 10, and a 12-inch model. Giving consumers great price options to choose from considering the quality on the inside which includes an Advanced Coma-Free Optics of 8-inches f/10. With a focal length of 2000mm, the LX90-ACF takes astronomy to the ultimate level.
The Meade Instruments LX90-ACF includes a standard field tripod which is stable enough to make viewing moving objects easier than ever. Other features include Ultra-High Transmission Coating which is extremely durable and provides great optical protection along with AudioStar™ handbox which includes a speaker.
- High quality mirrors
- Eyepieces provide great clarity
- Wide aperture giving you more viewable angle
- Red dot finderscope included
- Features a GoToNova Controller
- Poorly defined instructions
iOptron introduced the SmartStar Astro which is a technological advanced computerized catadioptric telescope that uses the best in technology to bring out the best in astronomy. Giving users the ability to locate, find and create amazing images of terrestrial objects at any distance. This 114mm Newtonian model has a focal length of 1000mm.
The iOptron SmartStar boasts a red dot finderscope which makes finding objects in space much easier which is something that will help beginners. Other features include a Computerized Alt-Azimuth Mount, GoToNova hand controller, 5,000 object databases, The Cube, and a K9 and K25 eyepiece.
- Stylish, sleek design
- Exceptional build quality
- Optics provide great clarity in all types of lighting
- Tripod could be more stable
The Celestron 22303 Ambassador looks almost as amazing as it performs. This brass telescope features a mahogany finish which will end being the centerpiece in your home office or right in your living room. The quality that goes into the look is overshadowed by how it performs which is highlighted by a 50mm objective lens with precision optics made of all-glass.
The Celestron 22303 features a cradle altazimuth mount which is as sturdy and durable as it is stylish. The quality design is also seen in the mahogany tripod which offers a great and easy to use support for all celestial objects. Looking through the brass eyepiece that moves between low to high with a flip of your wrist with a zoom of 15-45x.
- Accurate and simple focus
- Portable and lightweight
- Simple to mount
- Wide aperture offers great light gathering capability
- Includes a scope finder
- Eyepieces do not offer max visibility
The Vixen 2604 is not only one of the best rated hybrids this year, but it’s easily one of the top telescopes, period. This lightweight scope weighs under 10-pounds making it highly portable and easy to move from site to site. The optical tube comes in at 130mm and is a multi-coated Newtonian model. With a f/5.0 aperture giving you a focal length of 650mm it’s more than enough it proves that high-quality scopes don’t have to cost a fortune.
This Vixen scope features a dovetail tube plate and 6 x 30 finder which fits snug in all Vixen mounts. This user-friendly scope is a great transitional model which offers a great fit in a Porta Mount and can later be moved up to an electronic mount for improved viewing. Outfitted with two eyepieces including a PL20mm and Pl6.3mm offering a wide visual view perfect for deep space viewing.
- Offers great clarity during day or night use
- Lightweight design
- Accurate focus
- Simple to spot various sky objects
- Maximum comfort, even for longer use
- Some will find mount adjustments difficult
This Orion tabletop Maksutov-Cassegrain deserves to be mentioned among the best of the year which offers the perfect balance of portability and star gazing performance. The Orion 10022 gives you some of the brightest views of celestial objects such as the moon, stars, nebulas and planets. Weighing under 7-pounds which includes the weight of the scope and base makes it highly compact which can easily be moved from location to location.
The Orion 10022 StarMax boasts a 90mm aperture and is a Maksutov-Cassegrain model. For its size, it does a great job gathering light which brings some of the most amazing views into focus including nebulas and distant galaxies. There are two 1.25-inch eyepieces included coming in at 25mm and 10mm along with a EZ Finder II reflex sight which makes viewing much easier than other models.
- Great optical delivery
- Includes tripod stand
- Includes a rechargeable battery
- Bluetooth technology giving you connectivity to smartphones, tablets and PC’s
- Durable construction
- Will need to buy a celestron cable as it’s not included
Celestron introduced the NexStar Evolution 8 which is a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope which features built-in Wi-Fi. This advanced level scope takes astronomy to new heights with a max magnification of 480x. Featuring an aperture of 7.99-inches along with StarBright XLT Multcoated Optics for superior viewing. With a 1500mm focal length and f/10 focal ratio, this model creates amazing views right from your Android or IOS smartphone or table.
The Celestron NexStar Evolution 8 telescope gives you more than 10 hours of run time on a single charge and sitting atop the Single Fork Arm Altazimuth Mount which is made of a durable and lightweight stainless steel you’ll have a very stable platform.
Be sure to ask any questions and if you have anything to share on the best catadiotropic telescopes this year feel free to leave us a comment below.