Since Dobsonian telescopes are so popular, there are literally dozens on the market to choose from, and it goes without saying that you want to pick the best option to suit your specific needs.
Trying to narrow down all of the options can seem like an overwhelming task, so we’ve taken the liberty of doing the legwork for you. After conducting extensive research and reading through countless reviews, we’ve compiled a list of what we believe are the best Dobsonian telescopes currently available.
Below, you’ll find a list of our favorites, which highlights the different features, as well as the pros and cons of each one. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide to help you determine which telescope will best suit your needs, as well as answers to some of the most frequently asked questions consumers have about Dobsonian telescopes.
Our Top Picks
If you’re in a rush and you don’t have time to read through our extensive review, this is the section you want to read. Below, you’ll find a brief overview of our picks for the best, premium, and budget Dobsonian telescopes.
Best Pick: Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic Dobsonian Telescope Kit
- 114mm (4.5") aperture and 900mm focal length Dobsonian telescope provides great views of lunar craters, planets, bright nebulas and galaxies
- Collects a whopping 260% more light than a typical beginner-level 60mm-aperture telescope, which means hundreds more objects will be visible through the Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic Dobsonian reflector
- Included Orion 2x Shorty Barlow Lens doubles the magnification of virtually any 1.25" eyepiece, adding magnification options to your telescope right out of the box
- The included Beginning Stargazers Toolkit provides plentiful reference material for nighttime observing and a handy red LED light to see them clearly
- An affordable and value-packed telescope and accessory kit perfect for beginning astronomers!
Our pick for the best Dobsonian telescope is the Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic. Featuring a 114 mm (4.5 inch) aperture and a 900 mm focal length, this telescope has the ability to gather up to 260 percent more light than similar beginner telescopes, so you’ll be able to see hundreds of more items in the night sky.
Premium Pick: Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope Kit
- 203mm (8") aperture and 1200mm focal length Dobsonian reflector telescope allows you to reach deep into space for jaw-dropping images of the Moon, planets, and deep space objects too
- Big-aperture Dobsonian telescope optics + point-and-view ease of use = out-of-this-world value
- Included Orion 2x Shorty Barlow Lens doubles the magnification of virtually any 1.25" eyepiece, adding magnification options to your telescope
- The included Beginning Stargazers Toolkit provides plentiful reference material for nighttime observing and a handy red LED light to see them with
- An amazing value compared to purchasing each item separately
If you’re on the market for something that’s a little more high-end and you can spend a bit more, than you might want to consider our premium pick; the Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope Kit. Featuring a 203 mm (8 inch) aperture and a 1200 mm focal length, with this Dobsonian reflector telescope, you’ll be able to see celestial objects far out into space, and they will be crystal clear, too.
Budget-Pick: Galileo G-80DB 500mm x 80mm Dobsonian Table Top Telescope
- 500mm x 80mm
- Easy to use Dobsonian mount in Handsome Matte Black Finish
- 1.25" 20mm and 6mm Eyepieces
- Standing just over 1ft. tall and with a 1ft. diameter base it makes it perfect for almost any table or stand
- Dobsonian telescope design in a portable, light-weight system
If you don’t want to spend a lot but you also don’t want to sacrifice quality for a lower price, then consider our best budget pick Dobsonian telescope: the Galileo G80DB 500mmx80mm Dobsonian Table Top Telescope. With a 500mm focal length and an 80mm heavy duty primary mirror, you’ll have no trouble picking up clear images of the moon, planets, and stars.
Dobsonian Telescope Reviews
Now that you’ve have a sneak peek at our top three picks for the best, premium, and budget Dobsonian telescopes, let’s take a more detailed look at each of these options, as well as four additional models.
Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic Dobsonian Telescope Kit
We chose the Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic Dobsonian Telescope Kit as our best pick for several reasons. First, it offers a 4.5 inch diameter aperture, which is housed in an enameled steel tube and a 900 mm focal length which combine to provide crystal clear views of the heavens.
It also collects up to 260 percent more light than other 60 mm aperture starter telescopes, which means you can see way more objects; you’ll have no trouble seeing craters and plains on the moon, as well as plants, and even nebulas and galaxies. Unlike other starter telescopes that come with a small 5x finder scope or reflex sight, with the SkyQuest XT4.5 from Orion, you’ll get a 6×26 correct-image finder scope, so you’ll have a much easier time getting an accurate aim at celestial objects.
A finder’s correct-image view is specifically designed to match naked-eye vision for easier and more effective aiming. The finder also boasts sharp crosshairs, which help you center on objects in the field of view.
This telescope comes complete with two 1.25 inch Sirius Plossl telescope eyepieces: a 25mm, which allows for wider-field views at 36x power and a 10mm that provides 91x power for closer views.
Rounding out the features that come with the Orion XT4.5 Classic Dobsonian Telescope are a 1.25 inch rack-and-pinion focuser that can accept any kind of 1.25 inch eyepiece or accessory, a built-in navigation knob, and a Beginning Stargazers Toolkit, which includes a Telescope Observer’s Guide, a Moon Map 260 Guide, and a Orion Star Target.
- Features a 114 mm aperture and a 900mm focal length
- Gathers 260% more light than other beginner 60mm aperture telescopes for clear views of more objects
- Comes with an Orion 2x Shorty Barlow Lens, which doubles the magnification of almost any 1.25 inch eyepiece
- Easy to set up and balance
- Durably constructed, yet lightweight
- Built-in navigation knob
- 25 inch rack-and-pinion focuser
- Comes with a Beginning Stargazers Toolkit
- Some users said that they had a hard time focusing the view
Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope Kit
Our premium pick for the best Dobsonian telescope is another model from Orion: the SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope Kit. It features a 203mm aperature and a 120mm focal length reflector, which allows it to see deeper into space yet it still produces crystal-clear views.
The primary mirror is comprised of low-expansion borosilicate, which means it cools down a lot faster than a regular mirror; plus, the mirror draws in 73 percent more light than a standard 6 inch mirror, so it has the ability to capture the details in cloudy nebulas and can even see the structure of far-off galaxies.
With a 46 inch long enameled steel optical tube, you’ll have no trouble controlling this Dobsonian telescope and targeting on whatever object you’re looking to pick up. The SkyQuest XT8 boasts a 2 inch Crayford focuser that comes complete with a removable 1.24 inch adapter, which means it can easily accept 1.25 inch and 2 inch eyepieces and accessories.
Other key features include a 1.25 inch Orion 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece, which provides a 48-power view and a 52 degree wide apparent field of view, an Orion EZ finder II red-dot sight, and a Beginning Stargazers Toolkit.
While it is a bit pricier than our best pick, given all of the features and power that the Orion SkyQuest XT8 offers, the higher price tag is understandable and definitely well-worth the added expense.
- 203mm aperture and 1200mm focal length
- Comes with a 2x Shorty Barlow Lens that doubles the magnification of almost any 1.25 inch eyepiece
- Draws in 73 percent more light than a standard 6 inch mirror
- Provides crystal clear views of deep space
- Easy to set up and easy to operate
- Boasts a 2 inch Crayford focuser
- Equipped with a 1.25 inch Orion 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece that provides a 48-power view
- Comes with a Beginning Stargazers Toolkit
- Durably constructed, yet lightweight
- The price may be cost-prohibitive for some shoppers
Galileo G-80DB 500mm x 80mm Dobsonian Table Top Telescope
For those who are interested in a quality Dobsonian telescope but don’t want to spend an exorbitant amount of money, the Galileo G-80DB5 500mmx80mm Dobsonian Table Top Telescope is a great choice.
This budget-friendly Dobsonian telescope is easy on the pocket, yet well-made and provides great views of the night sky. It’s also lightweight and easy to transport, so you can easily use it just about anywhere.
The G-80DB from Galileo features an 80MM primary mirror, which can gather the same amount of light as a full-size reflector telescope and features push/pull collimation screws for easy adjusting, so you’ll have no trouble picking up heavenly objects.
The optical tube assembly offers a 500mm focal length and it offers a 1 ¼ inch helical rack and pinion focuser. With a Mars Eye Electronic Finderscope, you won’t lose any of the surrounding field of view when you’re targeting in objects. Other key features include a 1 ½ 20mm eyepiece and a 1 ¼ inch 6mm eyepiece with a 52 apparent field of view.
- Has a 500mm focal length
- Features a 80mm heavy duty primary mirror with push/pull collimation screws that offers 92 percent reflectivity and an .86 arc seconds resolving power
- Boasts a ½ inch format helical rack and pinon focuser
- Comes with a 1 ¼ inch 20mm eyepiece and a 1 ¼ inch 6 mm eyepiece with an apparent field of view of 52
- Compact, lightweight design, yet durably constructed
- Easy to set up and transport
- Affordably priced
- You may not be able to get super-crisp views or pick up objects in deep space
Zhumell Z8 Deluxe Dobsonian Reflector Telescope
Next on our list of the best Dobsonian telescopes is the Z8 Deluxe from Zhumell. You’ll be able to see super-clear images of far-off objects through this telescope, thanks to the 200mm (8 inch) parabolic primary mirror lens, as it captures a significant amount of light without any visual defects, such as spherical aberration.
It comes complete with two fully multi-coated eyepieces, a 2 inch 30 mm eyepiece, which offers a wide field of view and a 1.25 inch 9mm eyepiece for higher magnification. With a smooth dual speed Crayford focuser, you’ll have no trouble focusing. It also comes complete with a laser collimator, which ensures that optics are precisely aligned for crystal clear images.
With an 8×50 right angle finder, aiming the telescope and finding the objects you’re looking for is an absolute breeze. This Dobsonian telescope even boasts a built-in cooling fan so you don’t have to worry about overheating. All of these features and the Zhumell Deluxe Dobsonian Reflector Telescope is also lightweight, easy to set up and take apart, and easy to transport.
- Features a 200mm parabolic primary mirror that draws in a substantial amount of light
- Comes with two multi-coated eyepieces: a 2 inch 30mm eyepiece and a 1.25 inch 9mm eyepiece
- A laser collimator is included with the telescope
- A Crayford focuser allows for easy and precise focusing
- Adjustable balance ensures that the telescope is properly balanced at all times
- A built-in cooling fan prevents overheating
- An 8×50 right angle finderscope makes it easy to locate the objects you’re looking for
- Durably constructed, easy to take set up and take apart, and easy to transport
- Premium Price
Zhumell Z12 Deluxe Dobsonian Reflector Telescope
A step up from the previous Zhummel, the Z12 Deluxe Dobsonian Reflector Telescope features a 12 inch parabolic primary mirror, which means it can capture even more light and generate even clear images of objects that are deep in space with ease.
It also comes with a 2 inch 30mm wide angle eyepiece and a 1.25 inch 9mm high magnification eyepiece, just like the previous Zhumell on our list. The other features that are offered with the Z12 are similar to the Z8, including a built-in cooling fan, an 8×50 Right Angle finder, adjustable balancing, a Crayford focuser, and a laser collimator.
While you’ll certainly be able to capture great images of deep space with the Zhumell Z12 and its durable constructed and easy to set up, do note that it weighs in at 75 pounds, so it’s pretty heavy and may be a bit difficult to transport. Also, the price is a bit higher than the Z8.
- Features a 12 inch parabolic primary aperture that draws in a substantial amount of light and can capture crisp images of deep space objects
- Comes with a 2” 30mm eyepiece for wide field views and a 1.25 inch 9mm eyepiece for close-up images
- Has a built-in fan for faster cooling
- With adjustable balancing, you’ll have no trouble keeping this telescope balanced on virtually any surface
- Comes with a laser collimator for super-sharp images
- A Crayford focuser produced precise focusing
- An 8×50 Right Angle finder makes it easy to aim and locate
- Durably constructed
- Easy to set up and take apart
- It’s pretty heavy and may be difficult to manage
Orion 8944 SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope
As you can probably tell, Orion is one of the best manufacturers of Dobsonian telescopes (as evidenced by the several different models featured on our list), and the 8944 SkyeQyestt XT6 Classic certainly lives up to the brand’s reputation.
It features a 150mm (6 inch) diameter parabolic primary mirror that has the ability to draw in up to 80 percent more light than a 4.5 inch reflector telescope. With a 1200mm focal length and an f/8 resultant focal ratio, the XT6 is particularly well-suited for observing the moon and planets.
The 45 inch long reflector optical tube is made of enameled steel and easily moved with the Dobsonian wood base, which is outfitted with Teflon/Nylon altitude and azimuth pads. Easy to set up and take apart, and weighing in at 34.4 pounds, the XT6 Dobsonian telescope from Orion can be easily transported to and used wherever you want to take in views of the night sky.
- 6 inch optical tube
- 1200mm focal length
- f/8 focal ratio
- 150mm diameter parabolic primary mirror
- Draws in up to 80 percent more light than 4.5 inch reflector telescope
- Easy to focus
- Easy to set up and take apart
- Lightweight, yet durable design
- Provides clear views of the moon, planets, and various other celestial object
- For a Dobsonian telescope, the 8944 SkyQuest Xt6 Classic is pretty well-priced; however, some may find it to be cost-prohibitive
Sky Watcher Flextube 300 Dobsonian 12-inch Collapsible Large Aperture Telescope
Last but not least on our list of the best Dobsonian telescopes is the Sky Watcher Flextube 300. It’s durably constructed and collapses so that you can easily pack it away and take it wherever you want to observe the night sky.
Featuring an f/5 1500mm focal length, 720x magnification, and 94 percent reflective primary and secondary mirrors, this telescope draws in a substantial amount of light and can capture images of deep space objects.
Steel needle bearings allow for super-smooth azimuth movement and a 2 inch Crayford-style focuser, complete with a 1 ¼ inch adapter and two eyepieces (25 mm and 10 mm), you’ll be able to see your images with razor-sharp precision. This telescope even boasts an 8×50 right-angle finder scope, so you’ll have no trouble locating whatever it is you’re looking for.
- 720x magnification
- Offers a 1500mm f/5 focal length
- Comes with a 2 inch Crayford focuser and a 1.25 inch adapter
- Outfitted with an 8×50 right-angle viewfinder
- 94 percent reflectivity for both the primary and secondary mirrors
- Collapsible, lightweight design for easy transport
- Durable constructed
- Some users said they had issues with the collimation screws
Other Best Selling Options
- Features an 8” parabolic primary mirror that captures a substantial amount of light and produces crisp, bright images free of visual defects like spherical aberration
- Two fully multi-coated eyepieces: a 2” 30mm eyepiece for wide field views and a 1.25” 9mm eyepiece for higher magnification
- A durable, sturdy construction means your Zhumell will stand up to years of use at public star parties, camping trips, and more
- Optical Tube Weight: 38 pounds
- LARGE APERTURE: Get a bright, bold viewing experience at a fraction of the cost of other optical designs.
- PROPRIETARY TENSION CONTROL HANDLES: These patented handles allow for accurate movement without the need for perfect balance.
- 94% REFLECTIVE MIRRORS: Fully multi-coated borosilicate primary and secondary mirrors deliver exceptional views.Faintest Steller Magnitude:14.2
- TEFLON BEARINGS: Proprietary Teflon bearings ensure smooth azimuth movement.
- COMES COMPLETE: All accessories such as, 2-inch Crayford-style focuser with 1 1/4-inch adapter, two super wide-angle eyepieces (25mm and 10mm), and 9x50 straight-through finder scope are included with purchase.
- Computerized star locating telescope: The Celestron NexStar 127SLT is a computerized telescope that offers a database of more than 40,000 stars, galaxies, nebulae, and more. The telescope locates your object with pinpoint accuracy and tracks it.
- Compact and portable: This telescope for adults and kids to be used together is ideal for weekend camping trips or excursions to dark sky sites. Its compact form factor makes it easy to transport and assemble just about anywhere.
- Maksutov-cassegrain optical design: The NexStar 127SLT is the second-largest in the SLT family. The 127mm aperture gathers enough light to see our Solar System and beyond. View Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s cloud bands, and the Moon in brilliant detail.
- Fast setup with skyalign: Celestron’s proprietary SkyAlign procedure has you ready to observe in minutes. Simply center any three bright objects in the eyepiece and the NexStar SLT aligns to the night sky, ready to locate thousands of objects.
- Bonus free starry night software: The NexStar 127SLT Computerized Telescope includes a free download of one of the top consumer rated astronomy software programs for an interactive sky simulation.
- Item may ship in more than one box and may arrive separately
- A large aperture Classic Dobsonian reflector telescope at a very affordable price!
- 8" diameter reflector optics lets you view the Moon and planets in close up detail, and has enough light grasp to pull in pleasing views of faint nebulas, galaxies and star clusters
- A perfect Dobsonian telescope that can last a lifetime for the beginning astronomy enthusiast or whole family
- The ultra-stable Dobsonian base keeps the reflector optical tube perfectly balanced for point-and-view ease of use
- Perfect entry-level telescope: The Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ is an easy-to-use and powerful telescope. The PowerSeeker series is designed to give the new telescope user the perfect combination of quality, value, features, and power
- Manual german equatorial mount: Navigate the sky with our Newtonian Reflector telescope. It features a German Equatorial mount with a slow-motion altitude rod for smooth and accurate pointing. Adjust rod to desired position, then easily secure by tightening cross knob
- Compact and portable: This telescope for adults and kids to be used together is compact, lightweight, and portable. Take the telescope to your favorite campsite or dark sky observing site, or simply the backyard.Optical Coatings:Aluminum
- Multiple accessories: The Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ Telescope comes with two eyepieces (20mm and 4mm), plus a 3x Barlow lens to triple the power of each. Users can also download BONUS Starry Night Astronomy Software Package
- Unbeatable and customer support: Buy with confidence from the world’s #1 telescope brand, based in California since 1960. You’ll also receive a 2-year and unlimited access to technical support from our team of US-based experts
Dobsonian Telescope Buyer’s Guide
There’s nothing better than examining the night sky. Not only is it relaxing, but it’s downright interesting. There is so much to be discovered in the heavens above. If you are passionate about astronomy but your current telescope isn’t giving you the views that you want, you may be thinking about investing in a Dobsonian telescope.
Dobsonian telescopes are the gold-star standard for amateur star gazers. An altazimuth-mounted Newtonian-style telescope that was pioneered by John Dobson (hence the name) back in the 1960s, this style telescope boasts a simplistic mechanical mount and optics, which not only made it easy to manufacture, but was a lot easier for amateur astronomers to use.
While they might be simplistic in design when compared to higher-end telescopes that are made for professionals, the Dobsonian is quite powerful. In fact, the optical component (Optical Tube Assembly, or OTA) is exactly the same as the OTA featured on the Newtonian reflector telescope, except they aren’t as big, complicated, or costly. It’s because of their ease of use, smaller size, and more budget-friendly price that Dobsonian telescopes are so highly recommended.
If you’re on the market for a Dobsonian telescope, just like any other product you’d purchase, you want to be sure that you choose the model that will best suit your needs.
To help you make the right choice, we’ve put together a buyer’s guide, which highlights some key factors that you should take into consideration while you’re shopping so that you can be sure you purchase a Dobsonian telescope that will work best for you.
First, you’ll want to consider the aperture the telescope offers, as this affects the type of view the telescope will be able to transmit. If you want to be sure that you get a really good view, make sure you choose a model that offers an aperture of at least 8 inches (with an aperture of 8 inches, you’ll be able to see crystal clear images of the moon’s craters, planets, and other deep space objects. Do note that you can get telescopes that have higher apertures, but the price will be higher.
Focal length is another important factor to consider, as it will also play a big role in the views. Look for a Dobsonian telescope that has a focal length of at least 1200mm; anything lower and your view will start to become obscured.
The majority of Dobsonian telescopes are outfitted with altazimuth mounts, which makes the telescope lightweight, easy to set up and take apart, and easy to use, as the mount can move from side to side, as well as up and down. There are some Dobsonian telescopes that offer tabletop mounts (we have one featured on our list), which is good for portability, as you can easily travel with it.
Of course, you want your Dobsonian telescope to be made of high-quality materials so that it will last longer. Lightweight enameled steel is ideal, and instead of a glass refractory mirror, low-expansion borosilicate is a better option, as it is more durable, doesn’t get as hot, and cools down faster, too.
Portability and Setup
If you aren’t planning on staying in one place and you don’t want to keep your telescope setup all the time, then you’ll want to consider the portability of your Dobsonian, as well as the setup.
Look for something that is lightweight, as it will be easier to move about from place to place, and something that is easy to setup and take apart so that you don’t have to struggle with putting it together or taking it apart in the dark.
Furthermore, the night sky moves pretty quickly, so the last thing you want to do is spend a great deal of time fumbling with setting up your telescope because there’s a good chance that the sky will shift and you could miss whatever it is that you’re trying to view by the time you actually get yourself set up; hence why choosing a telescope that can easily be set up is important.
If you read through our reviews, you noticed that most models of Dobsonian telescopes come equipped with accessories. Some come with more accessories than others, and the accessories do vary.
Extras can include additional eyepieces, Crayford focusers, finderscopes, moon filters, rack-and-pinion focuser, and stargazer toolkits (moon guides, planet guides, etc.).
Keep in mind that the more accessories a Dobsonian telescope comes with, the higher the price tag will likely be. Consider which additional accessories would best meet your needs and whether or not paying more for a telescope that comes with them will be worth your while.
Of course, you’re also going to want to consider the cost. Dobsonian telescopes vary largely in price, so you want to be sure that you set a budget before you start shopping, otherwise there’s a chance that you could end up spending more than you can comfortably afford. When considering price, remember that higher-end, more powerful telescopes that are equipped features are going to run you more.
Dobsonian Telescope FAQs
If you’ve never purchase a Dobsonian telescope before, there’s no doubt that you have some questions about it; so do a lot of other shoppers. To give you as much insight as possible before you start shopping, we have put together a list of answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that consumers have about these popular telescopes.
Is there a difference between a Newtonian and a Dobsonian telescope?
If you’ve been researching telescopes, you’ve likely run into two keywords: Dobsonian and Newtonian – and you’re probably wondering what the difference is between the two.
The Newtonian telescope dates back to 1668 and was created by (as you can probably guess by the name) Sir Isaac Newton. They’re also commonly referred to as reflecting telescopes.
Newton created the reflecting telescope as a way to enhance viewing, as the previous models, known as refracting telescopes, used lenses to gather light and that light focused on a single point and the images were usually blurry. To address the issue, Newton replaced the lenses with mirrors, which reflect light into the eyepiece of the reflecting or Newtonian telescope.
Dobsonian telescopes are relatively new; they were developed in 1960 by Sir John Dobson. The distinguishing feature of the Dobsonian telescope is the altazimuth mount, which is the primary difference between this type of telescope and the Newtonian. There are a few other differences, too; for example, the mirrors are thinner, they’re more compact and easier to transport, thy have large apertures and they’re affordable, and they’re specifically made for beginners.
What are the benefits of using a Dobsonian telescope?
Firstly, Dobsonian telescopes are made with beginners in mind. The materials they’re made of are easier to access, so they’re more affordable. They’re also lighter and more compact, so they’re relatively easy to transport, and they draw in more light, which means that you can see smaller objects that are located further away.
Why are they more portable?
The materials that Dobsonian telescopes are made out of and the thinness of the mirrors (1:16 compared to 1:6 of the Newtonian) make them lighter and easier to transport.
Why are Dobsonian telescopes easier to use than Newtonian telescopes?
The feature that distinguished the Dobsonian telescope from the Newtonian designs are also the feature that makes them easier to use: the altazimuth mount. It’s a two-axis mount, which the telescope sits on and rotates on along two perpendicular axes – one is horizontal and one is perpendicular. Because of the design of the axis, moving the telescope about is a lot easier.
If you enjoy exploring the night sky and you’re thinking about purchasing a telescope, a Dobsonian is an excellent choice.
Easy enough for beginners to use, yet powerful enough to capture clear images of small and very distant objects, the Dobsonian telescope is a popular choice among star gazers of all experience levels.
In this guide, we’ve provided a list of seven of the best Dobsonian telescopes currently available on the market, and in our buyer’s guide, we’ve provided you with factors that you should consider to help you choose the right option for your specific needs.