10 Best Telescopes for Kids Reviewed in 2020
For young scientists, astronomy is one of the most fascinating subjects your child can learn today. In the current market, there’s everything from children’s songs about our heavenly bodies, models of the solar systems, nightlights that turn your child’s room into a planetarium and stories about the sun, moon and the stars. It’s easy to see why children can be easily captivated by all things outer space-related. Maybe it’s because stars and planets spur the imaginations of and sense of awe in children.
There’s no better way to introduce your child astronomy than by getting them their very own telescope. Your young space enthusiast will love one of the scopes on our list below which includes a wide range of products available at a variety of price points.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research
Easy to assemble
Easy to travel with
10 Best Telescopes for Kids Reviewed
1. Emarth Travel Scope with Tripod & Finder Scope
Easy to assemble
Easy to travel with
Not suitable for anyone under the age of 8, might need assistance.
We love this product because it is perfect for young astronomers. Being able to look at the stars and the moon helps your child have fun while learning.Read more
Not only is this telescope easy to assemble and kid-friendly, but it also has multiple different positions your child can adjust and focus on whatever catches their eye in the night sky. It is the perfect telescope for a beginner who’s eager to take a look at all the wonders of the universe.
This telescope comes with a 24-month warranty. It is the perfect gift for any child who has a love for astronomy and is ready to get a closer look at the stars or even some planets. It comes with an adjustable height so your child will be able to adjust it to whatever feature makes them comfortable. Using this telescope, your child will be able to locate any object in the sky that catches their interest.
The Emarth telescope is perfect for your young scientist at home. With a magnification of 360mm and 70mm, your child will be able to see crystal-clear images of the stars. Not only is the tripod adjustable but it is also composed of aluminum which will provide your child with a stable viewing platform from a variety of different angles. The aluminum material also grants the tripod a superior level of durability, thus your child can enjoy viewing countless starry nights.
Assembly is easy
Clear instructions & lack of confusing accessories is perfect for beginners
Highly portable as all items fit into the included travel bag
Variety of lenses provide close and clear images
Cell phone holder is too small for most phones
The lack of confusing accessories on this telescope makes it great for beginners.Read more
The 3x Barlow lens, 25mm, and the 10 mm eyepiece provide your child with a variety of different magnification levels. With the maximum level being x120 your little one can view the moon, star arrangements, and the planets clearly. Crystal clear images will increase your child’s knowledge of space.
While assembly is required it takes between 15-30 minutes, thus allowing your child to enjoy the process without getting frustrated. The clear step-by-step instructions also include pictures, thus making this a great set for children of all ages who have never used a telescope before. A smartphone adapter and Bluetooth camera remote are also included in the set and will also your child to view space from their phone screen. They will even have the ability to take pictures by screenshotting the image displayed on their phone. Now they can wow the friends and family members who were unable to join in person.
The body, tripod, and accessories are all lightweight thus making them very easy to transport. In fact, all of the items fit in the included travel bag. The lenses are designed with multi-layered glass that has a green coating. The coating helps increase the brightness of celestial objects while also protecting your child’s eyes. Composed of aluminum alloy, the tripod is highly durable and will provide a stable platform for viewing through the telescope.
3. Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic
The base is stable
Easy to transport
Provides clear and detailed images
Assembly is easy
The collimation cap is not a mirror
The highly detailed images and ease of use of this telescope are sure to foster a love of astronomy in your child. While this telescope is rather large in size, the carrying handle makes it easy to transport from place to place.Read more
The eight-inch diameter reflector will provide the viewer with close up and detailed images of the moon and other planets. The reflector has the ability to pull in enough light to allow the whole family to view star clusters, nebulas, and even galaxies. A 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece and an EZ Finder II reflex sight piece are included in the set.
With the Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope, your child can experience jaw-dropping views of outer space. The telescope is easy to use and perfect for beginners.
The Dobsonian base provides the viewer with a high level of stability that will keep the telescope perfectly balanced while viewing. This telescope is easy to set up so you can spend more time viewing the night sky and less time fumbling with parts and building instructions. Equipped with a right angle optical finder, your little one can zero in on objects easily. The base is designed with carrying handle which makes transporting this scope to the perfect viewing spot stress-free.
4. Celestron 31042 AstroMaster 114 EQ
Quick and easy setup
Clear and bright imaging
Includes pre-assembled tripod
Locates and tracks objects in the sky
The mount may be hard to aim for beginners
The Celestron 31042 AstroMaster Reflector will allow your child to begin viewing outer space almost immediately after opening. No tools are required which makes set up quick and easy.Read more
This telescope is equipped with a German equatorial mount that allows your child to accurately locate and track objects in the sky. The telescope comes with a pre-assembled tripod that provides your child with more stability when viewing.
This dual-purpose telescope allows your child to take in terrestrial and celestial views. With such bright and clear imagining, your child will clearly be able to see every single one of Jupiter’s moons.
The tripod is a nice addition as it provides stability. The telescope’s tube is made of a sturdy metal that will allow your child to spend their nights looking up at the sky for years to come.
5. Celestron 21061 AstroMaster 70AZ Refractor
Perfect for beginners
Telescope comes in three pre-built pieces
Panhandle movement for easy navigation
No need to focus the lens
Strong enough to view planet details
Autofocus feature may not work for every night sky condition
Aside from the sleek look of this telescope, the fact that it stands up to more expensive and complex telescopes like it is truly impressive. This scope works great for beginners just learning about the night sky while still giving them the feel of an expensive high-end star-viewing device.Read more
For astronomy newcomers who haven’t had experience with worlds that exist far beyond ours, the Celestron Astromaster Refractor Telescope is the perfect first telescope for you. There is very minimal building involved because the telescope tripod, mount, and optical tube come preassembled with no need for tinkering with tools and stubborn screws. What makes this telescope so great for kids is its ability to not only scope out the night sky but also zoom in and focus on far viewpoints with no issue bringing them into focus. The optical tube length measures 34 inches while the lens is 2.6 inches, making it ideal for sweeping the sky but also honing in on planets such as Saturn or Jupiter.
Sky viewing is daunting for the beginner and many people may not know where to start. This is an excellent choice for kids just starting out with their night sky adventures because the telescope is easy to use while still powerful enough to show them a world outside of their own.
The Celestron AstroMaster makes controlling your view simple with the use of a panhandle with a simple to use clutch, which will make viewing the night sky super easy for your child. Fewer controls mean simpler sky-steering! If you’re looking for a fun activity for you and your child, the software included with this telescope may be just the thing to create a new Friday night family activity. The software included allows you and your child to mark star charts together with the exact date, time, and location of your star findings so that your memories are in print for years to come. To make star and planet discovery even easier, this telescope can be used in conjunction with the SkyPortal app for iOS and Android to pinpoint exact locations for the stars you seek -- just download the free app and point your phone to the sky!
6. Equatorial Reflector
Starry Night SE software will help track and educate you and your family on space findings
Tripod allows manual slow motion to track moving objects
5.1-inch aperture to allow more light into the telescope lens
Easy to transport for viewing on-the-go
Requires some assembly
This telescope has so many unique features rolled into one to create the perfect telescope for an entire family. It caters to both beginners, intermediates, and advanced astronomy lovers which makes it a great purchase for the price.Read more
Where do we even start with a telescope like this? Being able to track objects is a tremendous feature of this telescope, but having the option to find them on Starry Night will only increase your family’s interest and provide an educational aspect that you won’t get with many others.
If your entire family is fascinated with space and the study of it, then the Orion SpaceProbe is a must-have for your next sky viewing. This telescope is the epitome of family-friendly and comes with anything and everything you could possibly need for your first reflector telescope, including 10mm and 25mm eyepieces for various magnification, a finderscope for easier planet and star discovery, Starry Night SE software so you and your family can plan out your nightly star searches and learn more about what you’re seeing through the lens, mount, and an adjustable tripod for better directional adjustments.
For the price, this telescope is one of the best and boasts Orion’s superior technology so that you and your entire family can see far away galaxies, nebulas, and other planets without losing even the most minute of details. What makes this reflector telescope stand out is the easily adjusting tripod, which allows your family to track moving objects in real time as they travel across the sky.
The accompanying software helps to explain what you’re seeing in-depth to turn an average space viewing into an educational experience that will both leave your family in awe as well as add to their growing astronomy knowledge.
7. Celestron 21024 FirstScope
Lightweight design for easy travel
Unique and elaborate exterior design
Comes with additional eyepieces for more magnification
Easy to use for beginners
Sits on a swivel base for quick adjustment and direction
Made for indoor use only
The additional features are what make this telescope one that will be in your family for years to come. A little magnification is all that stands between your child and the rings of Saturn, and that’s a view that’s truly priceless.Read more
Inspiration is something the Celestron FirstScope excels in. With all the names of past astronomers emblazoned on the telescope tube and the Galileo-inspired design, your child will be motivated by discovery.
This cool-looking tabletop telescope was inspired by the astronomy master himself, Galileo Galilei. If you have a child who is a lover of both astronomy and science, this telescope will quickly be their new favorite gift! Just by a glance at the Celestron FirstScope, you can tell that it’s no ordinary telescope. The size makes it ideal for travel whether on vacation in the country or on a road trip to somewhere with a great viewing platform.
Let the FirstScope inspire your future vacation trips as you read the exterior lettering that displays all the names of the most notable astronomers in history. This sky viewing reflector scope is one of a kind and unique in nature with its revolving turntable for easy direction adjustment and optional accessory kit with an additional finderscope for even more detailed discoveries.
This telescope is lightweight and great for virtually any age since it’s so easy to transport and use, just swivel, point, and view. For older kids who have a more developed passion for astronomy, two additional eyepieces can be used that allow a total magnification up to 75x. Any kid will be thrilled to have this displayed on their desk or set up in their window, ready to show all of their friends the stunning features of Orion or the rings of Saturn up close.
It’s great for all ages and will be a telescope they’ll use for years as they experiment more with the different attachments and magnification abilities. Perhaps one day they’ll even have their names printed on a telescope tube as well!
8. Orion 9024 AstroView 90mm Equatorial Refractor
Classic look of a high-powered telescope
Easy to use with minimal adjustments needed
Comes with two powerful eyepieces
Adjustable tripod for slow-motion tracking
Comes with Starry Night software
Correct-image diagonal needs to be purchased for additional daytime viewing Some assembly required
The educational benefits of the Talking Telescope are more than welcome as kids now will have a more fun way to learn about outer space and some of the animals that we often view using scopes.Read more
As a whole, the Orion telescope range is great for anyone who wants to get their family involved in star viewing without breaking the bank. The AstroView, in particular, is a great classic reflector telescope that does everything you’d expect a telescope to do, with a compact design and a striking exterior look.
This telescope does need to be assembled but it’ll be well worth it! Also included in the telescope kit is an EQ-2 adjustable tripod a equatorial mount for the same easy slow-motion tracking Orion is known for, two Sirius Plossl eyepieces for various magnification and detail, an equally easy-to-use finderscope, a rack and pinion focuser for even more detailed views, 90-degree mirror, and Starry Night software to find and learn about everything your family is seeing.
If you like to take your kids on daytime adventures then this would be the scope for your family. Check out terrestrials in the daylight if you'd like to.
The eyepieces have been upgraded to 25mm and 10mm in order to optimize all of the galaxies and nebulas you can see from your very own home, and this telescope can be upgraded with a correct-image diagonal for prime daytime terrestrial viewing as well. That makes this telescope an amazing option for families who are just beginning to peak in interest about the solar system, as well as kids who may have advanced knowledge of what lies beyond us and want a strong, easy-to-use telescope.
The classic look of this make it a focal point for any bedroom and it’ll definitely provide something worth talking about!
Large aperture provides a wider view of space
Aluminum tripod can be used on a variety of terrains
Assembly is straightforward
Lightweight and easy to transport
Tripod tray hold extra eyepieces when not in use
One reviewer didn’t receive all of the accessories
With the ToyerBee Telescope, your child can find planets, moons, or constellations quick and easily.Read more
Along with a 2x Barlow lens, three different eyepieces are included with this telescope. The H20mm, H12.5mm, and the H4mm. The Barlow lens will double the magnification of each eyepiece, thus allowing your child to view a more clear image. The crystal clear images provided by the lens and the large 76mm aperture are sure to foster a love of astrology in your child. When using this telescope your child can also practice their math by determining the magnification power. They will simply have to calculate the focal length of the eyepiece and the focal length of the telescope. When calculating, divide the focal length of the telescope, in this case, 700mm, by the focal length of each eyepiece.
Astronomy lovers of all skill levels will have a blast using this telescope because they can quickly find objects in space using the 700mm finder scope. With this including a large aperture, your child will have a larger field of vision. Use the paper and video guidelines for a quick and easy assembly process.
Whether your child is setting their telescope up on grass, gravel, or dirt the aluminum tripod will provide a stable place for their telescope. Switching eyepieces while viewing is easy as all of the eyepieces can be stored on the tripod tray just below the telescope. The erecting eyepiece makes viewing easier for people of varying heights or just at different angles.
10. Orion Astro Reflector
Tabletop stand for manual maneuvering
4.5 aperture allows decent light exposure
Great for beginners and intermediate viewers
Comes with Starry Sky Software
Unique color gives it a nice exterior look
Lenses are not as powerful
While a tabletop structure can often be limiting for a telescope, that’s not the case with the Orion StarBlast. It allows viewers to track moving objects manually in slow motion which makes it a great addition to comet tracking and meteor showers.Read more
If assembly isn’t your thing but you and your family still want to reap the rewards of owning an Orion telescope, then the StarBlast may be more your speed. It comes fully assembled with minimal adjustments required and is great for beginners and intermediates alike.
You’ll have all the benefits and quality that go into Orion’s other well-known telescopes with all the ease that comes with a lower-end product. Astronomy enthusiasts will still get a 4.5-inch aperture that allows ample light to come in through the lens for detailed viewing, as well as a tabletop stand that will give viewers the option to track objects manually in slow motion.
Kids want to see things from every angle when they’re learning about the planets and stars with other kids. The altazimuth rotation makes it easy for kids to maneuver.
The StarBlast comes with two eyepieces, a 17mm, and 6mm, which will give full range to stunning views of the moon and other wide-field celestial sights. Starry Night software is also included so although the cost and size are different, your family will still have the same educational benefits as with any other Orion telescope. Whether you use it indoors or outdoors, this telescope is sure to have you naming off nebulas in no time.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Our basic research could begin with Vincent Van Gogh’s painting of The Starry Night! It’s the age-old imagination that creates a kaleidoscopic curiosity that leads to wonder and awe the first time we look at the night sky and understand that we’re not alone! Perhaps it is that luminescent full moon one night; or that meteor shower on a clear night while out camping. As a parent, the child’s education can begin with your own! Being up on identifying the stars from a naked eye perspective in the beginning can lead to a telescope. Later, buy some books, watch some astronomy and science shows! Dip your toe in the water!
It is shown that this structured beginning, guided to and through, a tangible investment like a telescope can bring more focus to a child’s life and lower the likelihood of them developing ADHD symptoms. This opens up the imagination and leaves less room for outer electronic influences conversely. STEM and mathematical conclusions can be come to more easily through observational awareness and a playful, concentrated, effort!
The beauty of this product is that it already works with what we tend to be naturally equipped with, an innate curiosity about our immediate environment and beyond! We live in a highly technical world! Every owner of any kind of Apple product, or even outdated desktop, is in some way an amateur engineer, IT expert, and quantum physicist! It’s all unavoidable!
A few of these products market themselves as a possible gateway to STEM fields and careers. It’s a nudge, and nevertheless, it’s contributing to the socialization factor of our current generation. What better way than starting with the stars and celestial bodies. It’s guaranteed to be a gateway to something, career-wise or not!
We made sure that the toy telescopes are appropriate for the developmental age of kids. Different features were carefully evaluated and then analyzed as to what developmental benefits the toy can provide. The safety and quality construction of the product were also examined and correlated with the trustworthiness of the company that made it.
As for the kiddie telescopes, there were three things that we had to look for: the quality of the optics, the stability of the platform, and the diameter of the telescope’s aperture. These three are very important in any type of telescope as they do allow for a more superb experience. Unfortunately, we had to compromise a bit as high-quality optics can easily translate to thousands of dollars. The same is true with the aperture. The greater the aperture, the more expensive it is. And since we’re only talking about beginners’ telescopes, then something that’s affordable yet functional should be the main focus of our search. And that’s exactly what we did.
True telescopes can range between $100 and $5,000. Before you head out to your favorite retailer, ask yourself how much you’re prepared to shell out.
Know that telescopes are excellent pieces of engineering ingenuity. The more sophisticated the construction, the greater is the telescoping experience. Unfortunately, it’s also pricier. So, you need to strike a balance between what’s functionally acceptable and what’s economically feasible. To help you with this, you’ll need to understand aperture, optics, and the mount. A good starting point is to choose an aperture of at least 70mm for superb astronomical observations. Also, don’t buy into the magnification bandwagon. A good rule of thumb to follow is to always get a telescope with a maximum magnification that is no more than twice its diameter in millimeters. For instance, if you have a 70mm aperture, the maximum power you must look for is 140x. Any value greater than this can lead to fuzzy viewings.
Although some of these telescopes utilize plastic in their construction, it is usually of the highest quality and helps make these telescopes light and portable. It is often the tripod that tends to break first, which is something that is usually quick and easy to fix. A new metal tripod can be easily purchased locally or online for around $20–much less than the cost of the initial investment in the telescope itself! This can be a particular consideration if the child retains an interest, but is still too young for an upgrade. One note of caution might be to be extra careful when handling the product.
Other Factors to Consider
We were not quite sure how to approach this particular project since it telescopes are superb pieces of optical engineering. While we do recognize that kids deserve only the best kind of telescope they could possibly have, they might not really be able to appreciate the rather complex knowledge associated with astronomy. We cannot go for purely telescope toys, either, although we do recognize the need of kids to use their imaginations. So, we decided to strike a balance between the play needs of children and their need for learning. This is the reason why there are real telescopes on our list and there are also toy telescopes that are designed primarily to stimulate the imagination of children during make-believe or pretend play.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How can these products be called educational when aperture on most is too small to even see far away objects?
A telescope with a larger aperture would be more expensive. The point of our product line to make it the most cost-efficient for parents on a budget, while at least opening the door to entertaining an astronomical interest for your child. With at least a 60-70mm aperture, you can see the surface of the moon on a clear night. Once a strong interest is established, then it might be time to upgrade to a more expensive telescope with a larger aperture.
q: What should I do when, and if, the tripod breaks?
You have two options–you can go out and buy a new telescope or you can buy a replacement tripod. For our inexpensive product line, we suggest that you buy a new metal tripod at the lowest cost possible since you’re not sure how long it will be in use. The best tripod mount is the Alt-Azimuth. At best, even with the upgrade, you’ll have a spare tripod handy in case you need a new variable height or angle.
q: What are my options if I want to take pictures with my telescope?
The majority of our line are camera-friendly or compatible. The one exception might be the Celestron model. It can be possible with a 70mm telescope using an SLR camera but, this would also require a different tripod mount from what we offer for greater resolution. For astronomical photography, you might want to wait until you invest a more pricey telescope.
q: What other tools can I use in addition to telescopes to educate my child in stargazing?
At least two of our products come with interactive software accessories that will do the job in addition to the telescope itself! Other than that, I’d say invest in books and magazines. Get the old fashioned National Geographics off the rack in the grocery store or in libraries. Subscribe to science magazines. Watch science shows which can range from the down to earth to the fantastic! And, if you have a really precocious child, they may even benefit from a lecture given at the science museum or local community college.
q: What can I do about the occasional blurry image?
Sometimes this is due to having the magnification of the scope too high! There’s a tendency in thinking that the higher the magnification, the better the resolution! Not so in most cases! Be patient in your adjustments as sometimes it needs to be just ever so slightly on the object to eventually get a clearer view. Other times, it could just be the angle at which you are approaching the object. Once at least two of those factors are ruled out, then you should look at the quality of the aperture itself.
q: Some of these products are “award-winning” and promise in guiding my child toward a STEM field–why should any of this matter to me?
Good question! It doesn’t matter! These facts only matter as much as you want them to, and what piques the interest of your child. These are all options that may or may not engage the customer. The fact that some of these products have won parent awards, lends them greater credibility than they might normally have. There might be some truth in the claims! It’s up to you as the customer to see if it lives up to the hype or not.
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