Refracting telescopes are one of the oldest types, and still today they are often the most popular with astronomers with a wide array of skill level. The simple mirror operation refracts light which allows lighter to be gathered creating an image that cannot be seen by the naked eye. By focusing the light, the object becomes clearer, brighter and magnifies into a visually appealing masterpiece.
This is what looking through a telescope was intended to be, and only while looking through the right type of scope does astrological experiences become just what they were intended to be. More times than not, users buy a low-quality scope and don’t get the true experience which leads them into giving up on astronomy all-together.
This is one of the many reviews here on Astronimus which looks to change that as the following on the Top 10 Refractor Telescopes for Astronomy in 2017 – 2018 shows you all the reasons why.
|Image||Product||Aperture||Max Focal Length||Rating||See Best Price|
|Barska Anchormaster 28x60m Brass Refractor Telescope w/ Mahogany Floor Tripod||60mm||700mm||9.7|
|Carson Red Planet (RP-400) 50-100x90mm Refractor Telescope||90mm||1000mm||9.7|
|Orion 9024 AstroView 90mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope||90mm||910mm||9.5|
|Gskyer Telescope, 80mm AZ Space Astronomical Refractor Telescope||80mm||400mm||9.4|
|Orion 9005 AstroView 120ST Equatorial Refractor Telescope||120mm||600mm||9.1|
|Gskyer Telescope, 60mm AZ Refractor Telescope, German Technology Travel Scope||60mm||350mm||9.0|
|Sky-Watcher ProED 100mm Doublet APO Refractor Telescope||70mm||700mm||9.0|
|Celestron NexStar 102 SLT Computerized Telescope||102mm||660mm||8.9|
|TwinStar AstroMark White 80mm 16-40x Power Portable Refractor Telescope||80mm||400mm||8.9|
|Vixen Space Eye 32751 50mm Telescope||50mm||8.8|
- Powerful optics
- Coated lens
- Durable construction
- Aesthetic, modern appeal
- High price point
Barska did everything right when they introduced the 28x60mm brass Anchormaster which comes in with a 9.7 out of 10. The sophisticated look of the Anchormaster is highlighted by the brass finish which makes it stand out from all other reflector telescopes in this review. Revitalizing the outdoors or becoming a focal point in your own home is what was intended by Barska who wasn’t afraid to add a bit of modern flair to astronomy.
The Barska Anchormaster 28x60 reflector telescope is backed by impressive consumer reviews. This high-quality scope does much more than offer a sophisticated and unique look as it features Plossl interchangeable eyepieces. These high-quality eyepieces bring focus to anything in the sky with clarity that is certain create any astrological masterpiece.
Highlight features include a mahogany tripod which offers great stability along with a brass stabilizing chain. The included cradle mount offers a simple operating mechanism and responsive control.
- High quality Equatorial Style Mount
- Perfect for beginners and intermediates
- Numerous add-on accessories included
- Durable, heavy-duty tripod stand
- Sophisticated, sleek design
- Not for pro level use
The Carson Red Planet RP 400 is a high-quality reflector telescope with a magnification of 50x – 100x. Outfitted with a 90mm aperture giving you giving you a 1000mm focal length which comes in highly recommended for more experienced astronomers. The Red Planet RP-400 comes with a finderscope with a 6x30mmm which is more than enough to bring clarity from deep space celestial objects.
The Carson Red Planet RP-400 reflector telescope scores an impressive 9.7 out of 10 and ties for the top spot in this review. Created for experienced users, but easy enough for beginners to control makes it one of the most versatile reflector scopes out there. Included out of the box is the scope along with two eyepieces coming in at PL20mm and PL10mm along with a corner lens and tripod that’s adjustable.
- Great image diagonal perfect for day and night time viewing
- Eyepieces make magnification simple and precise
- Mirror diagonal improves night viewing
- Good focal length
- Optimal control
- Poor instructions
Orion hasn’t become one of the most trusted brands in astronomy and its products like this that separates them from the rest. The Orion 9024 is an equatorial reflector telescope with a 3.5-inch, 90mm aperture. At this price, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a reflector with specs like that which ensures an amazing experience while star gazing and looking at objects like the moon and planets.
The Orion 9024 AstroView telescope is a powerful refractor which features an equatorial mount and adjustable EQ-2 tripod which makes slow-motion manual tracking easier. There are two 1.25-inch eyepieces included at 10 and 25mm along, 6x30 finderscope, 90-degree mirror, Starry Night Software, and a rack and pinion focuser.
- Durable construction
- Stainless-steel tripod that's adjustable
- High power magnification
- Fully coated front and back lens
- Small tripod
Gskyer introduced the 80mm AZ refractor telescope which has become a fan favorite among users with well over 50 all-positive reviews. This high-quality refractor takes astronomy to the next level which offers an 80mm aperture giving you a focal length of 400mm. It is outfitted with three eyepieces which gives clarity and improves brightness through the 25mm low, 10mm medium, and 5mm high eyepiece.
The Gskyer 80mm refractor telescope features a large aperture along with a multilayer film on the front and back lens. The low dispersion CF4 optical glass helps eliminate chromatic aberration from colors like green, red, and blue. Included is the 80mm Gskyer telescope, adjustable stainless-steel tripod, accessory try and includes a limited 1-year manufacturer warranty.
- Provides max magnification
- Clear and sharp images
- Features an internal polar alignment
- Includes an adjustable tripod
- Precise focus
- Not recommended for novices
Orion claims another spot in this review with the 90005 AstroView 120ST which is a high-quality refractor telescope which scores a 9.1 out of 10. This scope has impressed us and with all positive reviews on Amazon it’s easy to see why consumers rave about it so much. This scope offers amazing resolution which brings clarity to celestial objects including the moon, bright planets, and galaxies far away.
The Orion 9005 is highlighted by a large aperture coming in at 4.7-inches which gives users a focal length of 600mm. Sharp views, crystal clear images, and amazing clarity are some of the brightest aspects which helps the AstroView 120ST claim the 5th spot in this review. Included are two Sirius Plossl 1.25" eyepieces, 6x30 finderscope, Starry Night Astronomy software, tripod with adjustable height, and much more.
- Portable and lightweight
- Gives the user max magnification
- Includes carrying bag and two eyepieces
- Improved brightness and clarity
- Warranty includes on the parts and telescope
- Short tripod
If you’re looking for an amazing bargain and some of the best in German engineering, then Gskyer has a great telescope for you. This 60mm refractor is highly recommended for beginners which is simple to use and won’t break the bank. Offering a 60mm aperture giving you a focal length of 350mm along with an Altazimuth mount which makes slow-motion tracking simple for newbies for tracking objects through the sky both day and night.
The Gskyer 60mm telescope is an entry-level model and features two magnification eyepieces including a 25mm low and 10mm high. The lightweight construction is stronger than it looks and is a great portable option for those looking to go places. You’ll see a noticeable difference with clarity thanks to the all-glass optics which gives you brighter, clearer images.
- Precise focus
- Includes two eyepieces
- Max visual clarity
- Portable and includes an aluminum carrying case
- Maximum magnification
- Heavy eyepieces may cause the focus to slip
- Higher price point
Orion introduced the ProED 100mm refractor telescope which is another entry-level model which makes beginners much better overnight. This scope allows you to get the most out of any experience and won’t cost you much as it comes in with a very affordable price tag. Highlighted by a 2.75-inch, 70mm aperture giving you a focal length of 700mm.
The Sky-Watcher ProED Doublet APO is an impressive beginner model which offer clear amazing views of bright sky objects including stars and bright planets. Including two 1.25-inch eyepieces, EZ Finder II sight, rack and pinion focuser, and the Starry Night Astronomy software which has become so popular with astronomers just starting out.
- Perfect for pro level and intermediate users
- Offers computerized hand control
- Upgraded technology
- Quick and easy assembly out of the box
- Bootloader error has been seen
- May cause vibration
Celestron introduced a very versatile NexStar which is a computerized telescope which comes in four different sizes. This model is known as the 102 SLT refractor which integrates the best in astrological computerized technology which takes star gazing to the next level. With an object database of over 4000, you can expect to see everything, but more importantly, know what you’re seeing.
Integrating Celestron’s award winning SkyAlign technology which allows you to lineup with any three celestial objects. Inspired by the focal length of 660mm with an f6 focal ratio, users of all skill levels will see exactly what’s intended while sitting atop the Altazimuth mount which is completely motorized.
- Works great in poorly lit, dark shaded areas
- Carrying case included which holds scope and all accessories
- Clear sharp images with angle prism
- Great for bird viewing, hunting and scoping celestial objects
- Small tripod that's simple to deploy
- Not suitable for pro level use
This TwinStar portable refractor telescope allows you to move freely from location to location while giving you amazing views during the day or night. Outfitted with an 80mm aperture with a focal length of 400mm, users have raved over the amazing views with great clarity. The Super Bright f/5.0 F-ratio sets up a brighter view which is something you don’t see at this level with most refractors in this price range.
This 80mm AstroMark has received near perfect reviews and receives the support by consumers. This model features two 1.25-inch Kellner eyepieces along with a finding scope of 6x26. Included is a compact tripod which is lightweight and fits nicely in the carrying bag which makes the complete setup highly portable.
- Simple to use for beginners
- Various eyepieces included providing different magnification levels
- Lightweight and portable
- Aluminum adjustable tripod in two sections
- Slow motion handles in both vertical and horizontal
- Not suitable for professional use
The Vixen Space Eye rounds out this review with their rendition of this 50mm refractor telescope and comes in well-under $100. This model is highly recommended for beginners and offers a lightweight, compact, and easy to use design.
This 50mm telescope is highlighted by a 51x light gathering power which helps to bring focus and clarity to many celestial objects. Weighing in at just 6-pounds, it proves that quality products don’t have to come in the smallest sizes.
Be sure to tell us your thoughts on the best reflector telescopes this year, and if you have anything to add you can tell us all about it below.