Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope Review

Orion SkyQuest XT8 Review
  • 92%
    Performance - 92%
  • 87%
    Ease of Use - 87%
  • 91%
    Value for Money - 91%


Getting into sky watching doesn’t have to be expensive, and the Orion SkyQuest XT8 is proof of that. The XT8 Dobsonian telescope provides high-performance optics at a pocket-friendly price.

The Orion SkyQuest XT8 is one of the best value Dobsonian telescopes in the UK market. It provides excellent optical performance for far cheaper than comparable telescopes.

If you are shopping for a high-powered telescope that’s affordable, the Orion SkyQuest XT8 is one of the best bargains around.

It features a massive 8” aperture that’s perfect for deep sky observations and a 2x Barlow that doubles up your eyepiece magnification for up-close views of planets and the moon.

As expected for a telescope this big, the SkyQuest XT8 is heavy and cumbersome to move around. If you are shopping for a compact travel telescope, this is not it. Read on to learn more in my full review.

Orion SkyQuest XT8 Telescope review

What are you buying?

1. 8” Reflector Telescope

For a telescope of its price, the Orion SkyQuest XT8 has a surprisingly big aperture. We are used to beginner and amateur telescopes with apertures of 70mm to 130mm.

So it’s a pretty big deal that the affordably-priced Orion SkyQuest XT8 has a 203mm (8”) aperture.

The large optics allow the XT8 to draw in more light, giving you better views of close up and deep sky objects.

Combined with the 1200mm focal length, you’ll have no trouble seeing craters on the moon and the cloud bands on Jupiter along with some of its moons.

Simply put, the Orion SkyQuest XT8 offers some of the best optical performance you can get for your money.

2. Smooth Altazimuth Mount

The Alt-Az mount is incredibly easy to use. It won’t give you the tracking versatility of an equatorial mount, but it’s good enough for most amateur astronomers.

The smooth mechanics of the mount make it easy to swing the telescope to the right spot in the sky and track object.

3. Sturdy Base

The Alt-Az mount sits on a wide sturdy base that keeps the telescope from shaking when you are moving it.

You can position the base on a level ground or, if you are tall, on a short table.

How easy is it to use?

The most challenging part of using reflector telescopes is collimation, which ensures the optics inside the telescope are properly aligned.

But it’s not so hard with the SkyQuest XT8. The primary mirror is centre-marked at the factory, which makes it easy and quick to use a collimation cap (included) to check if the mirrors are aligned.

Because the telescope comes already collimated, you probably won’t need to make any adjustments.

The Orion SkyQuest XT8 comes with a finderscope to make it easier to focus on specific objects. The scope works beautifully for focusing on the moon and planets. You can also use it to focus on stars and other deep sky objects.

As for portability, that’s where you are going to have some difficulty. Because of the large optics and long focal length, the SkyQuest XT8 is big and heavy.

If you are looking for a grab-and-go telescope, look for something smaller, preferably a refractor GoTo telescope.

That’s not to mean you cannot travel with the SkyQuest XT8. In fact, you’ll want to take it to the dark countryside where the dark skies allow you to take full advantage of the excellent optics.

Just be ready to do some heavy lifting. The entire kit weighs about 18kg. Also, make sure the telescope can fit in your car. I also recommend buying a carry bag like this padded one from Orion to keep the telescope safe when transporting it.

Overall, the Orion SkyQuest XT8 scores well on ease of use. It’ll take some practice to learn how to collimate the telescope and focus on objects, but it gets easier after a few evenings.

Even your kid should be able to operate the telescope with some guidance.

What accessories are included?

The Orion SkyQuest XT8 comes as a complete kit with everything you need to get started. In addition to the telescope, mount and base, here are the accessories you’ll receive.

  • 2x Barlow. Use it to double the magnification of a 1.25” eyepiece.
  • 25mm eyepiece
  • 2” focuser (can be used with both 2” and 1.25” eyepieces)
  • Finderscope
  • Mini red LED torch for reading sky maps or star charts in the dark
  • Orion MoonMap with over 260 lunar features labelled for easy identification with the telescope
  • Orion Telescope Observer’s Guide book with more than 60 object you can see through the telescope
  • Star Target planisphere for identifying location of stars, galaxies and other deep sky objects based on current date and time.

Orion SkyQuest XT8: Pros + Cons


  • Good value for money.
  • Powerful optics allow you to see deeper in the sky and enjoy up-close views of the solar system.
  • Plenty of accessories.
  • Easy to use.


  • Bulky and heavy – not the best telescope for travelling.

Anything else you should know?

A common question from potential buyers of the Orion SkyQuest XT8 is whether you can use it with a tripod instead of the base that it comes with.

You could get a custom tripod made for the XT8, but there’s really no need unless you also want to switch to an equatorial mount.

Remember this is big telescope with a long tube. When it’s on the ground, the location of the eyepiece is high enough that raising the telescope any higher with a tripod will make it impossible to reach the eyepiece.

If you are tall and find it hard to bend to see through the eyepiece, you can place the telescope base on a short table or platform. But for most people, you’ll be able to use the telescope as it is. As long as you can find a flat area on the ground, you are good to go.


Getting into sky watching doesn’t have to be expensive, and the Orion SkyQuest XT8 is proof of that. The XT8 Dobsonian telescope provides high-performance optics at a pocket-friendly price.

Where to buy?

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