Buying a telescope for your kid
There are a few things you should take into consideration when you want to buy a telescope for children – and typically, one does often see that the most important factor is price.
Here at Telescope&Sky we believe that this is a truth with modifications. Price is of course an important factor (who wants to empty out their wallet on anything?), but you should probably not only focus on the economic cost.
If you want to buy a telescope for your kid, you probably have a young astronomer at home – or maybe you want your child to have an interesting and educational hobby.
In either case, if you want your child to get the most out of the telescope, it should be of a certain satisfactory quality.
Our list for what to look for when buying a child’s telescope is:
- Do not focus solely on the price tag: Cheap telescopes sold in toy stores are very often of very low quality and will give your child (and maybe you?) a bad first experience with stargazing.
- The telescope’s mount and setup: Preferrably, the telescope should be easy to mount, and provide you with a hazzle-free setup.
- Ease of use: The telescope should be easy to use, and not require hours of setup for each stargazing-session.
- Size and weight: We are dealing with telescopes for kids, thus it would be nice to avoid quitting your day-job to help your kid carry around the telescope all day.
- The aperture: You’ll want a fairly large aperture (opening), which brings in enough light to get crisp and clear views of the moon and other near-earth objects.
The Top 6 Telescopes for Kids 2018
|Celestron Nexstar 4 SE||- High quality Maksutov Cassegrain, ideal for photography.|
- Computer-driven GoTo Telescope, and a database with over 4000 objects.
- 1325 mm focal length.
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|Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST||- Superb beginner telescope for kids.|
- 130 mm aperture, great for viewing the moon.
- The telescope only weighs 27 lbs / 12 kg.
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|Celestron NexStar 130 SLT||- Computerized GoTo telescope, extremely easy to find deep-sky objects.|
- Database with over 4000 celestial bodies.
- Easy to set up, up and running within minutes
|Celestron AstroFi 90 WiFi||- The telescope has its own mobile app|
- Can be controlled through a wireless connection
- Automatic star monitor for ease of use.
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|TwinStar AstroMark 50mm||- The cheapest telescope in this test|
- Very easy to use, great for youngsters
- Not suited for viewing deep sky objects
|Celestron PowerSeeker 70AZ||- Very affordable entry-level telescope|
- Good features, given the low price.
- Views of deep-sky object can be blurry.
- Read more
Celestron NexStar 4 SE
Celestron Nexstar 4 SE has high-quality Maksutov-Cassegrain optics and is an ideal telescope for observing and photographing wonders in space.
The ultra portable 4 SE has a precise optical system with 1325 mm focal length (f / 13) and is the first Maksutov system that has first-class StarBright XLT coating.
Nexstar 4 SE includes a camera control feature that allows you to use a variety of timed exposures for digital SLR camera, and comes with a Flip Mirror control and tripod with a built-in wedge, which helps to make short-exposure astrophotography a heavenly experience.
The NexStar 4 SE has all the features of Celestron’s most advanced computer-driven GoTo telescope, including the SkyAlign adjustment technology, and a database of nearly 40,000 objects and a single handheld controller to use.
The Celestron NexStar 4 SE has a long focal length, thus creating sharp magnified images.
However, be aware that telescope can only move using its remote, making fine positioning kind of frustrating.
Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST
The Orion SpaceProbe 130 ST is simply a superb telescope for kids and beginners alike. As the name suggests it has a 130mm aperture which makes it possible to enjoy stunning views of the Moon and planets as well as near-by galaxies, nebulas and star clusters.
There are certain strong points for this telescope which make it emerge from the others.
The first is that, when completely assembled, the telescope weighs just 27 lbs. (12 kg), which is perfect for a child’s telescope.
The second strong point, and probably the most important one, is the phenomenal sharp and clear views you can get because of it’s primary diffraction-limited parabolic mirror. These are usually specs you’ll have to pay a lot more to enjoy.
Overall there aren’t any clear-cut weak points to talk about. The only weak point might be the price, which steers away from a kids telescope price point, but with the overall quality you get, it is fully justifiable.
Celestron NexStar 130 SLT
The Celestron Nexstar 130 SLT comes with a fully computerized controller with a database of over 4000 celestial bodies.
With its pre-mounted, adjustable steel tripod, the NexStar 130 SLT can be up and running within minutes. The telescope comes with the SkyAlign adjustment technology and the StarPointer Finderscope, which makes pointing out sky-objects a pleasant experience.
This telescope offers the great detail on sky-objects even at a low magnification, and the go-to functions makes it a great telescope for youngsters who’s just starting out. The large aperture will satisfy even more seasoned astronomers – the clarity and details on this telescope are excellent.
We’d also like to point out that most customers have had nothing but good things to say about the Celestron NexStar. For instance, many state that its Newtonian design excels at minimizing the loss of light, and the scope is very comfortable to look through and easy to use. The scope’s tracking system has also received a lot of good reviews.
The telescope is great as a child’s telescope, due to its advanced tracking system that makes stargazing a real pleasure.
Celestron AstroFi 90 WiFi
Along with Sky Portal mobile application, Astro Fi 90 can be controlled 100% wirelessly from smartphones and tablets using wireless WiFi connectivity. Keep your phone or tablet up against the night sky, find the desired object, touch the screen, and the star monitor will turn automatically in the right direction.
You can also create a Sky Tour with the best celestial bodies based on your exact location.
The Celestron Astro Fi 90 provides splendid views of the Moon’s surface, and you can see the planet’s Venus phases. When conditions are good, Mars will appear like an orange slice in the eyepiece.
When using 90x magnification, the giant planet Jupiter will reveal itself in the ocular, slightly larger than the full moon is perceived by the naked eye.
During an evening of stargazing you can observe how Jupiter’s four biggest moons move in orbit around the planet. Beautiful Starclusters like the pleiads can easily be observed on a dark starry night.
However, be aware that some customers have reported issues with the WiFi and SkyPortal Application.
The negative feedback were mostly due to problems with aligning the telescope. We did not experience this personally, but is definitely worth mentioning. Those negative reviews are the very reason why the Astro Fi receives 4, and not 5, stars.
Celestron PowerSeeker 70AZ
Compared to other telescopes for beginners, PowerSeeker 70AZ by Celestron provides a nice balance between a low price and good features.
This is not among the most complex telescopes for beginners, but it is significantly more refined than a toy telescope.
This refractor is intended to offer some awesome stargazing experiences and to inspire for future raids into astronomy, for under $100.
The Celestron PowerSeeker is unlike other beginner telescopes because of its extremely affordable price that puts it within reach of even the most occasional nighttime observer. Likewise, its ease of setup and use make it a good choice for kids who don’t have the required skills to operate more advanced scopes.
The downside to the PowerSeeker is its inability to follow the sky-objects automatically, which will require the user to manually follow the objects. Compared to some of the other scopes in this review, the crispness of the views seen through this scope can be somewhat dissappointing. But given it’s low price, the Celestron PowerSeeker is definitely a telescope worth buying!
TwinStar AstroMark 50mm
TwinStar AstroMark 50mm is undoubtedly the cheapest telescope in this test, and this is obviously also reflected in it’s overall quality. However, because of its decent price tag, and ease-of-use, it is worth considering this child’s telescope if you’re looking to spend less than $100.
The TwinStar telescope is a good choice for introducing children to astronomy because of it’s simplicity.
The telescope is easy to set up, and you’ll be good to go within five minutes of the box being opened. In addition, the telescope has a point-and-view functionality, allowing children to easily operate the telescope without the frustration of using a more complicated telescope.
The TwinStar telescope is best for viewing the moon, and other more distant objects can be too dim to catch a great view.
However, compared to other telescopes in this review, this one is available at a very low price-point, thus giving you good reasons why you should purchase it for your kid, if you’re unsure whether your kid is into stargazing for the long haul or not.