This is a roundup of the best telescope brands around the world. We consider them the best based on how popular their products are, overall product quality and customer feedback.
Whether you are shopping for an affordable beginner telescope, looking to upgrade to something more capable or you want to splurge on a high-end telescope, there’s a brand for you below.
If you’ve ever shopped for a telescope, you’ve almost certainly come across Celestron telescopes. It’s one of the most popular brands among amateur astronomers looking for budget to mid-range telescopes.
But they make more than just telescopes. You can also get Celestron binoculars, spotting scopes, microscopes and other optical equipment.
Celestron makes some of the most popular telescopes in the market today including the highly rated AstroMaster 130EQ reflector and the NexStar 6SE GoTo SCT telescope.
With the exception of a few high-end models, most Celestron telescopes cost under £500.
Celestron telescopes are designed to be particularly beginner-friendly, so it’s a great brand to start with if you are just getting into backyard astronomy.
Celestron’s history goes back to 1955 when it started as Valor Electronics. Today, the company is based in California, US. Celestron’s parent company is the Taiwanese company Synta.
While Meade has a few low budget and mid-range telescopes (like the Polaris 127mm and the LX85 reflector), most of their telescopes are fairly pricey. Prices range from several hundred pounds to over £10,000.
Meade specialises in premium and advanced telescopes designed for pros as well as hobbyist astronomers looking to upgrade their equipment.
Meade is notable for their range of ACF (Advanced Coma-Free) telescopes, which replaced their earlier Schmidt–Cassegrain telescopes.
They also sell Newtonian, computerised and refractor telescopes, plus a wide range of other optical instruments including binoculars and scopes.
Meade has a similarly long history as Celestron. It was founded in 1972 as a mail order seller of telescopes. They started manufacturing their own telescopes in 1976. Today, the company is based in California and its parent company is Orion Telescopes & Binoculars.
Orion, the same company that owns the Meade brand, also sells Orion branded telescopes. The main difference between Meade and Orion brands is that more Orion telescopes are available in the low to mid price range.
If you are a beginner astronomer looking for a good quality telescope, Orion is a great choice.
Their cheapest telescopes start at between £200 and £300 with high-end telescopes like the Orion 10″ Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph Telescope costing thousands of pounds.
You can get a refractor telescope, reflector, Dobsonian, Cassegrain, GoTo and other types of telescopes. They even have a few high-end telescopes that use extra low dispersion (ED) optics.
ED glass is typically used in expensive binoculars and telescopes. It greatly reduces chromatic aberration that’s common ins standard lenses.
Orion also sells several telescopes for kids, with most costing under £150.
Good to know: Many of Orion’s telescopes were previously manufactured by Synta, the same company that owns Celestron. But after a recent lawsuit, Orion has switched to other manufactures in China and Taiwan.
Skywatcher is a sister brand to Celestron; both are owned by Synta.
Skywatcher focuses heavily on beginner telescopes. They have plenty of affordable options to choose from including the Mercury 707 refractor and the HERITAGE-114P Virtuoso reflector.
Skywatcher telescopes include standard reflectors, refractor and Dobsonians. If you have a bit more money to spend, they have a couple of product lines that make use of ED glass.
Since Skywatcher telescopes are made by Synta, who’ve been making high quality telescopes for decades, you are assured that you’ll get a reliable and well made telescope.
5. Vixen Optics
Vixen is one of the oldest manufacturers of optical equipment including binoculars, telescopes and riflescopes.
The Japanese company was founded in 1949. Today, they sell a wide range of high quality telescopes including reflectors, refractors, Cassegrains, GoTo telescopes and more.
Vixen telescopes are generally high end with most costing thousands of pounds. They only have a few budget to mid-range models.
If you are looking to get into serious astronomy and want a highly capable telescope, Vixen Optics is a great brand to choose from.
In addition to telescopes, Vixen Optics also manufactures various telescope accessories including mounts, filters and eyepieces.
It may sound like a luxury brand, but Svbony actually has some of the best deals when it comes to telescopes.
Normally, you’d have to pay over a thousand pounds to get an ED (extra low dispersion) refractor. Svbony sells one for under £500 — the Svbony SV503.
If you are looking for a good bargain on a good telescope, Svbony is the right brand. Their telescopes are not quite at the level of high-end brands like Vixen and Meade, they are pretty good for beginner and amateur astronomers.
One of the reasons they have such well priced telescopes is that they manufacturer their products in China.
As for variety, Svbony focuses mostly on refractors. They also sell a wide variety of astrophotography gear, making it a great brand if you want to try your hand at some astrophotography.
You can also get all the accessories you need for your telescope from Svbony including eyepieces, mounts, filters and more.
Good to know: Svbony stands for Saturn, Venus, Birding, Optics, Nature, Youth.
7. Tele Vue
If you are shopping for a high quality refractor telescope, Tele Vue is one of the best brands around. They make premium APO (apochromatic) refractors that deliver excellent views of the night sky with minimal distortions and aberrations.
Their telescopes are not cheap, but they are high quality and built to last.
In addition, Tele Vue makes premium eyepieces, barlows, diagonals and other telescope accessories.
Tele Vue is based in Chester, New York.
8. Baader Planetarium
Baader Planetarium doesn’t make any telescopes; they are best known for their astronomical accessories, particularly eyepieces.
If you are looking to expand your astronomy kit with additional eyepieces, filters, mounts and other accessories, Baader is one of the best brands.
Their eyepiece selections include 1.25” and 2” eyepieces, zoom eyepieces, widefield eyepieces for deep sky observations, and other specialist eyepieces.
Filters include solar filters, contrast boosters, IR pass filters, moon filters and more.
Basically, if you are looking for a particular telescope eyepiece or filter, chances are that Baader Planetarium has it.
Other Telescope Brands
There are plenty of other smaller brands whose telescopes are quite popular. Many of these are Chinese brands (or they sell Chinese made telescopes), so their products tend to be very affordable.
A good example is EMARTH, whose range of kids telescopes is highly popular. They have telescopes available for as low as £50.
Another popular brand is OYS, who sell budget telescopes for kids and adult beginners.
The most important thing when buying from these lesser known brands on Amazon is to do your research. Avoid telescopes with overhyped specs (especially magnification) and check customer reviews to see what users have to say about a particular telescope.
These low budget brands are great for beginners or if you just want to occasionally peek at the moon or the stars.
As you get deeper into astronomy, you can upgrade to bigger brands like Celestron, Svbony and Orion.