Refractor telescopes are what most backyard astronomers think about when it comes to finding the right instrument for their night hobby. This type of telescope has a long, slender tube with a lens at the front that refracts the light from the sky. They are considered among the earliest styles of telescope and have some advantages for individuals who wish to view the moon and other planetary bodies in our solar system. While they may not be used to view very distant objects in the galaxies, they produce very sharp views of the ones they can capture. Refractive telescopes are also affordable and easy to use.
If you are looking to buy a refractive telescope, here are the top 10 options to consider right now:
Top 10 Best Refractor Telescopes
1. Gskyer AZ80400
Gskyer has a range of telescope that are considered ideal for all kinds of users. This is one of their versatile products you can use for observing the moon and other planetary bodies as well as for viewing birds and distant wildlife. It is a beginner friendly telescope and comes with a sturdy stainless steel adjustable tripod.
This Gskyer Telescope features an 80mm (3.15″) aperture, which is great for an instrument of its size and quality. The focal length is 400mm. Other impressive features include a 480 erecting BAK7 prism zenith mirror, an integral aluminum ally tube, three replaceable eyepiece (16X, 40X, 80X) with 3X Barlow lens, 6*30 finderscope with mounting bracket and more. It also comes with 1-year warranty for free replacement or full refund.
2. Orion 9024 AstroView
The name Orion is associated with top-of-the-class telescope and this is one of the finest the brand has to offer. It is a magnificent telescope that will provide great view of deep space objects as well as exceptional daytime terrestrial view when used with a correct-image diagonal (sold separately). The optics are top-notch and the quality of construction is also great. With an aperture of 90mm (3.5″) and focal length of 910mm, users can obtain clear and clear images of objects of interest.
The Orion 9024 AstroView 90mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope comes equipped with a 6*30 finder, adjustable aluminum tripod with accessory tray, and an EQ-2 equatorial mount with slow motion controls. It is reliable instrument that will provide a clear view of the moon and planets for years.
3. Sky-Watcher ProED
This is a professional grade refractor telescope that is most ideal for experts. It has very powerful lenses that you can’t compare with what you will get from any of the other products in this review. It is featured here because we feel it is the perfect option for ardent explorers and hobbyists.
One of the distinctive qualities of this instrument is the fact that it is apochromatic: that is where the ‘APO’ part of the name is derived from. It has a magnificent 120mm (4.72″) objective lens, which is large and rare among refractor telescopes. The ‘APO’ lens is manufactured to reduce chromatic aberration. The lens is also a doublet (made of a pair of simpler lenses). Asides from the exceptional lens, the instrument boast of other interesting features including focal length of 900mm, which gives it a focal ratio of 7.5. It is also supplied with mounting rings and aluminum carry case. This is an expensive telescope but a great instrument by all standards.
4. Meade Infinity 102 Altazimuth
This is a beginner friendly refractor telescope that is ideal for the individual who enjoys viewing astronomical and terrestrial objects. It is a valuable instrument that combines quality optics with an altazimuth mount. It is easy to use and will be an excellent choice for anyone who is just embracing astronomy and hope to view both the cosmos and the outdoor.
The Meade Instruments 209006 Infinity 102 AZ Refractor Telescope has a 102mm (4″) aperture and a focal length of 600mm. It comes with a three different eyepieces (low 22mm, medium 9mm, and high 6.3mm) that will improve your viewing experience under different circumstances. It also features a red hot viewfinder to help point the scope at objects. Also included in the package are accessary tray and Astronomical Software and instructional DVD.
5. Celestron AstroMaster 102AZ
If you are looking for a special all-round refractive telescope for new astronomer, this is the instrument to grab. It has an aperture of 102mm (4″) and a focal length of f/6.5, making it a versatile telescope. It is ideal for lunar and planetary observation as well as for deep space viewing to some extent.
The Celestron AstroMaster 102AZ Refractor Telescope is easy to use. It has a manual intuitive altazimuth mount that is easy to use. The telescope comes with a sturdy adjustable full-height steel tripod. You don’t need anything else to setup the instrument and start viewing your objects of choice. It also comes with an erect image diagonal to make bird, wildlife, and terrestrial landscape viewing possible.
6. Gskyer AZ70400
This is another excellent telescope from Gskyer. It is a high quality instrument with the right features to enhance your viewing experience. The best thing about the instrument is the high quality optics. It has a 70mm aperture and 400mm focal length, making a focal ratio of f/5.7. The optics glass lens is fully coated with high transmission coatings to create top quality images and keep the viewer’s eyes safe.
Like other beginner friendly instrument, the Gskyer AZ70400 Astronomical Refractor Telescope is designed for easy set-up and operation. The adjustable aluminum alloy tripod allows you to view from different positions. The instrument comes with two replaceable eyepieces (16x, 40x), as well as one 3x Barlow lens. A very portable instrument, this telescope can be used at home and will also serve as an ideal companion for stargazing trips.
7. MaxUSee F400X70
Are you considering buying a telescope for your kid? This is the perfect first telescope for kids and beginners. The compact telescope is a fun instrument that will inspire the little ones’ natural inclination to explore. It can also be used by all family members and beginner astronomers to view the black deep sky and our solar system.
The MaxUSee 70mm Refractor Telescope has a 70mm large aperture objective lens that is fully coated. The focal length is 400mm, which is just right to create the perfect image. The telescope comes with 4pcs interchangeable eyepieces, 3x Barlow lens, 1.5x erecting eyepiece, and moon mirror. It also comes with table-top aluminum tripod and 5×24 Finder Scope. It is portable and easy to use.
8. Meade Infinity 80 Altazimuth
This is another excellent instrument from Meade. With 80mm (3.2″) aperture and focal length of 400mm, this refractive telescope will provide an excellent view on a reliable basis. It also features a red dot viewfinder that will help the user to point the scope on objects of interest. There is also a precision altazimuth mount with panhandle and slow-motion control that makes it easier for users to track celestial objects.
The Meade Instruments 209004 Infinity 80mm AZ Refraction Telescope is an achromatic reflector. It has the necessary accessories to get you started including three magnificent eyepieces, 2x Barlow lens, 90-degree Erect Prism, and Pre-assembled full height aluminum tripod. There is also an Astronomical software and instructional DVD to get you started and going.
9. Celestron AstroMaster 90EQ
This is a powerful refractor telescope that is designed as a dual-purpose instrument for terrestrial and celestial viewing. With its high-quality 90mm optics that is fully coated, the superior telescope delivers correct view of both land and sky. It features a lightweight frame and a manual German Equatorial mount for smooth and accurate pointing. It is ideal for adults and kids.
While beginners will find the Celestron – AstroMaster 90EQ Refractor Telescope helpful, it is an excellent option for ardent astronomers. Considering that it is an affordable instrument, anyone can grab it and enjoy the many benefits it offers. It comes with all the accessories you will need including 2 eyepieces (20mm and 10mm), a sturdy tripod, erect image start diagonal, a StarPointer red dot finderscope, as well as FREE download of Astronomy Software.
10. Orion Observer 80ST
If you are interested in exploring the planets and scan the heavens for bright deep-sky bodies, this is the instrument for you. It is a compact and affordable refractor telescope. With an aperture of 80mm and 400mm focal length, the instrument will deliver sharp and bright views of the cosmos including star clusters, bright nebulas and galaxies.
The Orion Observer 80ST refractor telescope features EQ-1B equatorial mount and adjustable-height tripod that allow smooth slow-motion movement to track and focus on celestial objects of interest. It also include 90-degree star diagonal, 2 anti-reflection coated, 1.25″ Kellner telescope eyepieces with anti-reflecting coating, red-dot reflex sight and the Orion MoonMap.
Refractor telescope is the right type of telescope for viewing celestial objects in our solar system. It offers a number of advantages such as higher visual contrast and wider fields of vision. Deciding to buy a refractor telescope, however, is just not enough. There are several models on the market to consider. To pick the right one you will have to research and possibly test some products. We have reviewed the best ten options to consider and will discuss how best to make the right choice in this section.
Factors to consider when choosing a refractor telescope
To find the right telescope for yourself or your loved ones, there are considerations to make. Here, we will briefly discuss some of the most important points to consider before making a decision:
The aperture is the diameter of the major light gathering lens in the refractor telescope. It is the heart of the instrument and plays a significant role in the performance of any instrument. A minimum aperture of 70mm is recommended for a refractor telescope. The bigger the aperture, the shaper and more detailed the images users can observe with the telescope.
The distance between the center of a lens and its focus is what is described as the focal length. This is another important parameter in a telescope. The higher the focal length of the instrument, the better the viewing experience users will get.
As the name implies, magnification is all about how much bigger the telescope can make the celestial object you are viewing. The aperture and the focal length influence the magnification significantly. The eyepieces that comes with the instrument also influences overall magnification.
Portability is another important thing to consider when buying a telescope. This is especially important if you are looking for an instrument you can travel with. Portability is generally desirable even when you want an instrument you will use mostly from your backyard.
Telescopes normally come in packages that have other things you will need to set it up and use. The most important accessories include magnification lenses, Barlow lens and tripod. These accessories enhance the value of the instrument and it is best when you get a package that has everything you need to get started with astronomy, including helpful software.
Frequently Asked Questions about Refractor Telescopes
What are the major advantage of refractive telescope?
Refractor telescopes offer higher visual contrast, wider fields of view, and convenience.
Are refractor telescopes good for viewing the planets?
Yes, refractor telescopes are great for viewing planets in our solar system. Some can be used for viewing deeper space objects but they are mostly for lunar and planetary exploration.
Are refractor telescopes also used for terrestrial viewing?
Yes, some refractor telescopes can be used for both celestial and terrestrial viewing.
Do refractor telescope have disadvantages?
Refractor telescopes are not available at large apertures. They are all susceptible to chromatic aberration.
Are refractor telescopes expensive?
If you consider cost per unit aperture, refractor telescopes are relatively expensive. There are affordable options on the market, though.
Refractor telescopes are great for individuals who want to explore the deep night sky. With the right refractor telescope, you will obtain great view of the cosmos. We hope this buying guide helps you find the perfect refractor telescope for your needs.