The 10 Best Refracting Telescopes

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We spent 23 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. Whether you want to magnify heavenly bodies or track nearby terrestrial objects, one of these refracting telescopes will produce clear and high-contrast images of all your targets. Unlike their mirror-dependent counterparts, these low-maintenance devices don't require any tedious collimation to align their optics, making them ideal for both novice stargazers and experienced astronomers alike. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best refracting telescope on Amazon.

10. Orion Apochromatic

9. Celestron EclipSmart

8. Zhumell 60AZ

7. Celestron Travel Scope

6. Maxlapter WR852

5. Orion Eon Triplet

4. Sky-Watcher ProED

3. Meade Star Pro AZ

2. Celestron AstroMaster

1. GSkyer EQ901000

Editor's Notes

May 09, 2019:

Refracting telescopes have several advantages over their reflecting counterparts, which make these devices terrific options for the casual stargazer, beginning astronomer, and even the nature enthusiast who loves to observe wildlife. These scopes are often compact in design and feature powerful optics with the ability to view crisp and vivid images of the night sky without a lot of visual interference. They are low-maintenance solutions, which require very little calibration, thanks to the fact that their lenses are usually sealed from the surrounding atmosphere. Additionally, their lack of mirrors virtually eliminates the need for tedious collimation that might turn novices away from the experience of viewing the heavens. That said, I did my best to include options with all these values in mind.

I added the GSkyer EQ901000 for its long focal length, large viewing aperture, and 3 eyepieces. The built-in clutch on the Celestron AstroMaster supports smooth horizontal and vertical tracking, while the included finder scope quickly centers objects in its field of view, making it particularly useful for those who are new to using telescopes. Also added the Meade Star Pro AZ for its integrated smartphone adapter, which allows it to capture high-quality deep-sky images. Though there is some criticism of refracting scopes suffering from chromatic aberration, the extra-low dispersion glass offered by the Sky-Watcher ProED ensures accurate color correction, while the anti-reflective lens coating allows for optimal light throughput. Included the Orion Eon Triplet because of its extendable dew shield, blackened lens edges, and multiple baffles, all of which reduce glare. The Maxlapter WR852 comes with its own moon filters, while the 3-way mounting platform supports a large range of multi-directional adjustments. I also thought the Celestron EclipSmart was a worthy option, thanks to its dedicated design as a solar-safe viewing scope, so it's great for those who wish to view sun spots and solar eclipses up close.


Jeff Newburgh
Last updated on May 14, 2019 by Jeff Newburgh

Jeff is a dedicated writer and communications professional from San Francisco with a bachelor of arts in anthropology from UC Berkeley. He began his career in computer consulting and later branched out into customer service. Jeff focuses on making complex topics easy to understand. With over 10 years' experience in research, his relentless curiosity fuels a love of writing and learning how things work, and has helped to build expertise in categories such as heavy-duty power tools and computer equipment. Jeff's passion for animals affords him a strong understanding of pet products, including dog houses, beds, and grain-free foods. When he's not writing, he prefers spending time with his family and three dogs, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.


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