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Best 17 Computerized Telescopes 2024: Ultimate Rankings

While computerized telescopes make finding objects in the sky easier, they're also more expensive for a given size and longer to set up. Whether that tradeoff is worthwhile is up to you.
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When it comes to the telescopes and the accessories that we review or recommend, our editorial board (which is comprised entirely of astronomers) makes unbiased judgments. Read our telescope testing methodology or read about us.

Many beginning astronomers start with computerized telescopes since they offer many advantages, like requiring less (but contrary to popular belief, not zero) knowledge about the night sky to find objects, hands-free automatic tracking, and the ability to move the telescope with a button, which induces fewer vibrations than manual pushing.

Computerized telescopes are not for everyone. They require constant power, usually a 12-volt portable power supply (basically a car battery) or lithium-ion battery packs. You usually can’t move them at all manually without ruining the alignment; we’ll get back to this later.

Furthermore, GoTo is not an exceptionally modern technology, having been around for three and a half decades now. Your typical computerized telescope has an interface basically the same as it had 20 years ago, with a small hand controller with the processing abilities of a pocket calculator, a small LCD screen with calculator-like text, and many functional limitations. Most computerized scopes have no internal clocks and require re-alignment if power is lost, even briefly.

Most, or even the best computerized GoTo scopes, require a two-star alignment. It’s an advertised feature that supposedly lets you align on any three objects, or by pointing the scope north and leveling it. Neither works accurately, and you end up having to align on two known stars most of the time, meaning you need to have a basic understanding of the motions of the sky and some bright stars to find in it. And there are occasional failures and weird behaviors requiring hours of troubleshooting—hours which could be spent at the eyepiece instead.

Star charts and observing books like Turn Left At Orion are much more interesting and engaging to read than the user manual of a Go-To telescope, and learning star hops in online forums is more interesting and engaging than consulting troubleshooting forums.

And it is indeed more fun to manually point a telescope, following star-hops to figure out where an object is in the sky. It’s more fun because it’s more engaging and it gives you something to do. By learning to find objects, you’re learning the night sky. You’re learning to navigate it, to go from place to place, to learn which objects are in the neighborhood.

A few cases where I can see the need for Go-To scopes are: Observatories and Star Parties, where you need to reliably find an object to show it off on schedule, and specific astronomical events like occultations, transits, and eclipses, where you need the tracking to keep you pointed at some obscure object so you don’t miss anything. And, of course, astrophotography. But in all of these use cases, they’re not strongly overlapping with the interests of the beginner astronomer.

This being said, the pros may outweigh the cons for you depending on your situation, and there’s absolutely no shame in owning a computerized instrument.

Our Ultimate Computerized Telescopes List

The below scopes are listed in order of their prices. If you’d like to see the rankings of all 102 computerized telescopes available in the USA, check out our PushTo & GoTo Telescopes Ranking.

Locates, but doesn’t track

Refractor with AltAz Tripod PushTo Mount

$300 Refractor Pick

It’s an affordable 100mm refractor with StarSense Explorer technology to aid in aiming. The telescope itself is a little limited; as a fast 4” refractor, it throws up a fair amount of chromatic aberration and isn’t quite as capable as a 150mm or larger reflectors like the below SkyWatcher Virtuoso GTi tabletops for deep-sky viewing. However, this one is still a convenient and cost-effective scope for beginners and experienced observers alike.

It’s an affordable 100mm refractor with StarSense Explorer tech to aid in aiming. The telescope itself is a little limited – as a fast 4” refractor, it throws up a fair amount of chromatic aberration and isn’t quite as capable as a 150mm or larger reflectors like the below SkyWatcher Virtuoso GTi tabletops for deep-sky viewing. However, this one is still a convenient and cost-effective scope for beginners and experienced observers alike.

Locates, but doesn’t track

Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ

Reflector with AltAz Tripod PushTo Mount

$400 Reflector on Tripod

It’s a 130mm f/5 reflector with a smartphone-aided PushTo system and a 2” focuser atop a manual mount. It has the same optical tube as Celestron’s slightly more expensive fully GoTo product, the Astro-Fi 130, which provides full tracking and GoTo and is vastly preferable to the DX 130AZ’s simple Push-To technology.

It’s a 130mm f/5 reflector with a smartphone-aided PushTo system and a 2” focuser atop a manual mount. It has the same optical tube as Celestron’s slightly more expensive fully GoTo product, the Astro-Fi 130, which provides full tracking and GoTo and is vastly preferable to the DX 130AZ’s simple Push-To technology.

Locates and auto tracks

Sky-Watcher Virtuoso GTi 150P

Reflector with Tabletop Dobsonian GoTo Mount

Best under $800; Editor’s Pick

With quality optics, well-made included eyepieces, and the ability to be used manually even while the mount’s electronics are powered on and aligned with the sky, it’s hard to argue against this fabulous instrument, especially at a price on par with most manual telescopes of its aperture. Its portability, value for the money, and well-designed GoTo mounting make it one of the best deals in astronomy gear there is. A smaller GTi 130P version is available; however, 150P is the better deal.

With quality optics, well-made included eyepieces, and the ability to be used manually even while the mount’s electronics are powered on and aligned with the sky, it’s hard to argue against this fabulous instrument, especially at a price on par with most manual telescopes of its aperture. Its portability, value for the money, and well-designed GoTo mounting make it one of the best deals in astronomy gear there is. A smaller GTi 130P version is available; however, 150P is the better deal. The Virtuoso GTi 150P is one of the top telescopes we recommend, period.

  • Lightweight, compact, and quick to set up
  • Large 6” aperture
  • Can be aimed both manually and with smartphone-controlled GoTo

The Virtuoso GTi 150P from Sky-Watcher combines the already great Heritage 150P with Sky-Watcher’s GoTo and FreedomFind technology, all at a stunningly low price tag. The 150P’s 150mm (6”) aperture provides 40% more light gathering than the 130P, and 20% more resolving power. You control the scope via your smartphone or tablet with SkySafari Pro or the SynScan app, and you can also unlock the clutches to aim the GTi 150P manually with or without the electronics powered up, allowing for speedy setup and a backup option if you run out of battery power.

The fast Virtuoso GTi 150P’s fast f/5 focal ratio and short 750mm focal length give it a much wider field of view than comparable 6” full-sized Dobsonian, refractor, or catadioptric telescopes. You get two eyepieces (25mm & 10mm, 1.25” Super Konigs providing 30x and 75x, respectively) and a red dot finder as with Sky-Watcher’s other Virtuoso/Heritage tabletop telescopes.

You can fit the Virtuoso GTi 150P into luggage or a large backpack when it’s disassembled, and it works best when placed atop a short, elevated surface like a bar stool or milk crate. As with the Virtuoso GTi 130P, you need to make some kind of shroud for the tube to reduce reflections, and a higher-power eyepiece for planets would be a good investment, but almost any beginner scope is going to require additional purchases such as these.

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Locates and auto tracks

Celestron Astro Fi 130

Reflector with AltAz Tripod GoTo Mount

Best $500 Tripod-Mounted

With quality optics, well-made included eyepieces, and the ability to be used manually even while the mount’s electronics are powered on and aligned with the sky, it’s hard to argue against this fabulous instrument, especially at a price on par with most manual telescopes of its aperture. Its portability, value for the money, and well-designed GoTo mounting make it one of the best deals in astronomy gear there is. A smaller GTi 130P version is available; however, 150P is the better deal.

It’s a tripod-mounted 130mm Newtonian with phone-controlled GoTo, albeit power-hungry and giving inferior views compared to the cheaper Sky-Watcher Virtuoso GTi 150P. The Astro Fi adds a 2” focuser and tripod as compared to the Virtuoso GTi 150P, but these aren’t really necessary or worth the bump in price as far as I am concerned. This can also be said to be the fully computerized version of the partially computerized Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ; but with a lesser jump in price.

Locates, but doesn’t track

Celestron StarSense Explorer 8″/ 10″

Reflector with Dobsonian PushTo Mount

$800 and $1000 Dobsonians

While not as well-accessorized as our most recommended and best-valued 10″ manual dobsonian, the Apertura AD10, the StarSense Explorer 10″ is lightweight, provides great views, and the StarSense Explorer technology makes the scope extremely easy to use, even for newcomers. However, be prepared to spend quite a few extra bucks on some accessories for your new scope.

While not as well-accessorized as our most recommended and best-valued manual dobsonians, the Apertura AD8 and AD10, the StarSense Explorer 8″ and the larger 10″ models are lightweight, and the StarSense Explorer technology makes the scope extremely easy to use, even for newcomers. However, be prepared to spend quite a few extra bucks on some accessories for your new scope.

Locates and auto tracks

Celestron Nexstar 6SE

SCT with AltAz Tripod GoTo Mount

Best $1K Tripod-Mounted

The NexStar 6SE is the smallest of Celestron’s fully computerized options to actually have enough aperture for the GoTo to make sense. It’s also a little more suitable for astrophotography than the Sky-Watcher Virtuoso GTi scopes, though the views through either are largely going to be the same. It’s also remarkably compact.

The NexStar 6SE is the smallest of Celestron’s fully computerized options to actually have enough aperture for the GoTo to make sense. It’s also a little more suitable for astrophotography than the Sky-Watcher Virtuoso GTi scopes, though the views through either are largely going to be the same. It’s also remarkably compact.

Locates and auto tracks

Sky-Watcher Flextube SynScan 8″ / 10″ / 12″ / 14″/ 16″

Reflector with Dobsonian GoTo Mount

Best from $1400 to $4700

These feature full GoTo but can be pushed around manually with or without aligning the GoTo system—and without disrupting the alignment of said GoTo system. All the models are similar in form factor and operation, but higher apertures come with significantly brighter images and more resolving power. The scopes are more portable compared to solid-tube dobsonians like the above Celestron StarSense Explorer dobs, but as expected, with aperture, the portability decreases. But due to the introduction of fully collapsible bases in 14″, the portability of 14″ is comparable to that of the 12″.

These feature full GoTo but can be pushed around manually with or without aligning the GoTo system—and without disrupting the alignment of said GoTo system. All the models are similar in form factor and operation, but higher apertures come with significantly brighter images and more resolving power. The scopes are more portable compared to solid-tube dobsonians like the above Celestron StarSense Explorer dobs, but as expected, with aperture, the portability decreases. But due to the introduction of fully collapsible bases in 14″, the portability of 14″ is comparable to that of the 12″.

Locates and auto tracks

Celestron Nexstar Evolution 6

SCT with AltAz Tripod GoTo Mount

Best $1.5K Tripod-Mounted

It’s a high-quality 6″ telescope offering identical views to the more affordable Celestron NexStar 6SE, but features substantial improvements over the 6SE—mainly a built-in lithium-ion battery and Wi-Fi control capability out of the box. It also has better gearing, a slightly simpler setup, and comes with two eyepieces out of the box, as opposed to the 6SE’s single 25mm Plossl.

It’s a high-quality 6″ telescope offering identical views to the more affordable Celestron NexStar 6SE, but features substantial improvements over the 6SE—mainly a built-in lithium-ion battery and Wi-Fi control capability out of the box. It also has better gearing, a slightly simpler setup, and comes with two eyepieces out of the box, as opposed to the 6SE’s single 25mm Plossl.

Buy Now Read Review
Locates and auto tracks

Celestron Nexstar Evolution 8

SCT with AltAz Tripod GoTo Mount

Best $2K Tripod-Mounted

The 8” Evolution has the same bells and whistles as the Evolution 6”, but with more aperture and substantially steadier, and is a better-made scope than its cheaper, popular cousin that we usually restrain from recommending, the NexStar 8SE. However, given the availability of cheaper computer-aided Dobsonians with wider fields of view, the NexStar Evolution 8, Evolution 6, or even the 6SE is quite a luxury package with few real-world advantages. The higher variant of the scope, the Evolution 8″ EdgeHD with StarSense, offers better cooldown time, faster setup time, and some extra perks to dabble into imaging, and is equally recommended.

The 8” Evolution has the same bells and whistles as the Evolution 6”, but with more aperture and substantially steadier, and is a better-made scope than its cheaper, popular cousin that we usually restrain from recommending, the NexStar 8SE. However, given the availability of cheaper computer-aided Dobsonians with wider fields of view, the NexStar Evolution 8, Evolution 6, or even the 6SE is quite a luxury package with few real-world advantages. The higher variant of the scope, the Evolution 8″ EdgeHD with StarSense, offers better cooldown time, faster setup time, and some extra perks to dabble into imaging, and is equally recommended.

Locates and auto tracks

Celestron Advanced VX 9.25″

SCT with Equatorial GoTo Mount

Best $3K Tripod-Mounted

This 9.25″ SCT on the Advanced VX mount is ideal for planetary viewing and deep-sky observation, but not for deep-sky astrophotography. But it makes for a much less intimidating option than the massive Evolution or CPC mounts offered with the C9.25, and you can swap the C9.25 out for a smaller astrograph more in line with the Advanced VX’s payload capacity if you wish.

This 9.25″ SCT on the Advanced VX mount is ideal for planetary viewing and deep-sky observation, but not for deep-sky astrophotography. But it makes for a much less intimidating option than the massive Evolution or CPC mounts offered with the C9.25, and you can swap the C9.25 out for a smaller astrograph more in line with the Advanced VX’s payload capacity if you wish.

Locates and auto tracks

Celestron Advanced VX 800

RASA with Equatorial GoTo Mount

$3K Deep-Sky Astrophotography Scope

An imaging-only telescope, the Celestron RASA 800 offers a wide field with its mere 400mm focal length at a super-fast speed of f/2. The Advanced VX mount makes for a decent pairing with this instrument and a good one-shot color CMOS or CCD camera for deep-sky astrophotography, though it’s not the most accurate or well-equipped mount for the job.

An imaging-only telescope, the Celestron RASA 800 offers a wide field with its mere 400mm focal length at a super-fast speed of f/2. The Advanced VX mount makes for a decent pairing with this instrument and a good one-shot color CMOS or CCD camera for deep-sky astrophotography, though it’s not the most accurate or well-equipped mount for the job.

Locates and auto tracks

Celestron CGX 800 EdgeHD

Aplanatic SCT with Equatorial GoTo Mount

$4K Deep-Sky Astrophotography Scope

The Celestron CGX is more than adequate for astrophotography purposes with the EdgeHD 8” optical tube, and is usable for a variety of imaging and visual tasks at f/2, f/7, native f/10 or with a Barlow lens for a longer f/ratio.

The Celestron CGX is more than adequate for astrophotography purposes with the EdgeHD 8” optical tube and is usable for a variety of imaging and visual tasks at f/2, f/7, native f/10, or with a Barlow lens for a longer f/ratio.

Notes on Why The Following Scopes are Not In Our Ultimate List

The Popular Science version of the same scope, named Popular Science Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 100AZ is available at a cheaper price, and is a far better choice. For the price tag big enough to obtain a larger and/or fully computerized instrument, the Celestron version is not the most economically justifiable scope.

The Astro-Fi 102 boasts 4” (102mm) Maksutov-Cassegrain optics with sharp views in a compact form factor, mounted atop a full-sized tripod with control via your smartphone/tablet and the SkyPortal or SkySafari Pro app. It comes with a red dot finder, 1.25” prism star diagonal, and a pair of eyepieces to get you started.

Due to the Astro-Fi 102’s small aperture and long 1325mm focal length, for the price, you’re not going to be able to view much in the way of deep-sky objects—the brightest nebulae and open star clusters won’t fit in the field, and the scope is too small to view most planetary nebulae, globular clusters, and galaxies in detail. However, the setup is very portable, and this telescope doesn’t need collimation, so it may still be worth considering, despite the price tag.

The NexStar 90SLT is not a bad scope and features an acceptable mount and accessories along with great optics, but setting up and aligning the mount is time-consuming and, quite frankly, overkill for a small instrument that’s almost exclusively useful for the Moon and planets. There’s really not much of a point in purchasing it. Those interested in a computerized telescope should really pursue something with more aperture, and those interested in a quick “grab n’ go” instrument should consider a tabletop telescope of some kind.

The NexStar 127 SLT is much like the Astro Fi 102, but with a hand controller instead of the ability to control it over Wi-Fi. The 127SLT has great optics, but the mount is undersized, the field of view of the telescope is quite narrow thanks to its long focal ratio, and the scope is inferior in performance to the much cheaper 130mm or 150mm reflectors/Dobsonians that are available, such as the Astro Fi 130 or Virtuoso GTi telescopes.

The 102mm and 127mm Skymax AZ-GTi telescopes share the same optics as the Astro Fi 102 and NexStar 127 SLT. The big difference is the mount. The Sky-Watcher AZ-GTi mount allows for control via your smartphone or tablet, and as with many other Sky-Watcher mounts can be moved manually with or without being powered on, and doesn’t affect the alignment or tracking of the GoTo systems. The mount and tripod are remarkably compact, and you can even convert the GTi into an equatorial star tracker. However, a small Maksutov-Cassegrain will be outperformed by the larger Dobsonians and Schmidt-Cassegrains in our list.

The NexStar 4SE is sturdy, well-mounted and features great optics. While the higher-quality gearing in the SE mount is nice, the main advertised features of the 4SE, such as the flip mirror and built-in wedge, are basically useless gimmicks, and you’d be better off with a larger computerized scope.

The NexStar 130SLT is a decent telescope, but its tripod legs are not the best, and for less money you could get the Astro-Fi 130, which has the same views but is more stable and easier to align and control.

The 5SE boasts a full 5” of aperture with StarBright multi-coatings and water-white corrector lens glass for maximum light gathering capability. However, being an f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain means its field of view is rather narrow. You can’t use a standard f/6.3 reducer or 2” diagonal and eyepieces to increase the field of view like larger Schmidt-Cassegrains, as the 5SE’s baffle tube will vignette too much for either to work effectively. Also, the 5SE’s rather large secondary mirror – covering 37.8% of the scope’s diameter – reduces contrast quite a bit and has a slight impact on light-gathering ability.

While still a decent pick, the 8SE’s mount is less than ideal due to its rather small tripod legs and lightweight single-arm fork design. We’d recommend stepping up to the 8” NexStar Evolution or CPC if you must have an 8” GoTo scope.

The 9.25” NexStar Evolution features the C9.25 XLT optical tube mounted atop the Evolution mount head, but with a massive tripod borrowed from the Celestron CPC telescopes. The Evolution mount head is not really up to the task of holding the C9.25 when you start adding a 2” diagonal into the mix (which is somewhat mandatory) and the CPC tripod is utterly massive.

Vaonis’ Vespera is essentially an all-in-one telephoto lens astrophotography rig, based on a 50mm apochromatic refractor. The scope is jaw-droppingly convenient and the images it delivers are pretty nice, with the ability to do your own processing as well as view them “live”. However, if you want to look through a telescope, this isn’t for you, and a dedicated astrophotography rig delivers a lot more for the price. Planetary images are also extremely poor, as Vespera is simply too small and short in focal length to capture them well.

Celestron NexStar 6SE

The NexStar 6SE is the smallest of Celestron’s computerized options to actually have enough aperture for the GoTo to make sense. It’s also a little more suitable for astrophotography than the Sky-Watcher Virtuoso GTi scopes, though the views through either are largely going to be the same.
Celestron Nexstar 6SE
  • Compact and portable
  • Sturdy, solid construction
  • Good aperture
  • Doesn’t need frequent collimation

The Celestron NexStar 6SE is even better than its smaller sibling, the 5SE. Along with a slightly larger, steady, well-built mount and the same water-white corrector glass, XLT coatings, and accessory capability, the 6SE boasts an extra inch of aperture, a smaller secondary mirror, and the ability to use 2” accessories or an f/6.3 focal reducer without any vignetting, enabling a wider field of view.

The 6” XLT Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube, also known as the C6, is a comparatively new entry by Celestron – the C8 stretches back to the early 1970s; a prototype existed in the 1960s; the C90, C5, and C14 debuted in the mid-70s; the C11 debuted in the 1980s, and the C9.25 made its appearance in the 1990s. The C6 has only been around since 2006, when Celestron was bought by Synta, the same Chinese company that owns the Sky-Watcher brand.

The C6 tends to be quite good optically, and the 6” of aperture allows you to start doing some deep-sky observing beyond the brighter Messier objects and a few others. The 6SE has a long focal ratio of f/10 and a resulting 1500mm focal length which gives it a narrower field than competing fast Dobsonian telescopes, but does make it easier to do planetary astrophotography with the addition of a 2x Barlow lens. You can also take the C6 optical tube off the SE mount and use it for deep-sky imaging with an f/6.3 focal reducer or Starizona HyperStar f/2 addon.

As with any Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, the 6SE is tedious to collimate, but thankfully it hardly needs it. However, you should make it a habit to check during every observing session, as bad collimation will cause you to get fuzzy images and elongated stars at the eyepiece.

Overall, a very good choice for the beginner or experienced astronomer.

Sky-Watcher 8″ Flextube SynScan Collapsible Dobsonian GoTo

The Sky-Watcher 8” FlexTube Collapsible GoTo isn’t for everyone, but can be used both manually or with its GoTo system activated, with neither interfering with the other. The scope is surprisingly portable, too.
  • Fairly large aperture
  • Very steady
  • Can be used manually
  • Great bang for your buck

8” of aperture is enough to start showing you a lot of interesting things previously impossible with a smaller instrument: There are hundreds and hundreds of galaxies, resolution in a dozen or two globular clusters, and planetary nebulae littering the sky. Neptune’s moon Triton is relatively easy to see (it’s near-impossible with a 6″), and you may even be able to hunt for Uranus’ moons.

As with most of Sky-Watcher’s other computerized telescope and mount offerings, the 8” FlexTube GoTo can be used manually with the scope powered off, and can be pushed around the sky even after the scope is powered up and aligned to no ill effect. The 8” FlexTube fits in almost any automobile and is relatively easy to pick up and carry around yourself.

The 8” FlexTube comes with two Super 1.25” eyepieces: a 25mm (48x) and a 10mm (120x), which work just fine at the scope’s f/6 focal ratio, though you may want to upgrade later on to get some 2” wide-field eyepieces and 1.25” planetary eyepieces. The open tube also necessitates a shroud of some sort to keep light out of the tube – as well as mitigate dew – which you can either purchase or sew yourself.

Sky-Watcher 10″ FlexTube SynScan Collapsible Dobsonian GoTo

The 10” FlexTube is similar in form factor and operation to the 8” model, but with significantly brighter images and more resolving power.
  • Fairly large aperture
  • Very steady
  • Can be used manually
  • Great bang for your buck

Like the other computerized Sky-Watcher Dobsonians, the 10” FlexTube can be moved manually even if the GoTo system is in operation. This means you can use the scope fully manually if there is no power available, push it around the sky to save power for slewing, and small bumps won’t ruin your alignment on the sky. 

The FlexTube design doesn’t really save weight on the 10” compared to a more traditional solid-tubed design, but reduces the tube length slightly to make storage and transport a bit less of a hassle.  As with the 8” FlexTube model, will need to buy or make a shroud to keep light and moisture out of the open tube.

The 10” FlexTube has a focal ratio of f/4.7. This means that you’ll need quality wide-angle eyepieces to get the sharpest low-power views, and ideally a coma corrector as well. Collimation is also harder than with a longer/slower instrument, though it is still plenty easy for the beginner. The included 25mm and 10mm “Super” Konig eyepieces (48x and 120x) work okay, but will definitely need replacing as you upgrade and expand your eyepiece collection.

Celestron NexStar Evolution 8”

Celestron really took the “Evolution” name literally when they made the NexStar Evolution 8.
Celestron NexStar Evolution 8
  • Lightweight, compact and portable
  • Fairly large aperture
  • Doesn’t need frequent collimation
  • Built-in battery
  • Can be controlled with a phone or tablet

The Celestron NexStar Evolution 8 features 8” (203mm) of aperture in Celestron’s compact, award-winning and versatile C8 XLT optical tube, an f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain with a focal length of 2032mm. The Evolution mount and tripod feature GoTo that is controlled either with the provided hand controller or a smartphone app such as SkySafari or Celestron’s free SkyPortal app. You can also unlock the clutches on the mount and aim it manually, but not with the scope powered on. The Evolution mount’s built-in WiFi is already a great feature, but it’s complemented with a built-in lithium battery that is rechargeable, runs the scope for a few nights straight, and will last about a decade before needing replacement. 

The Evolution 8 comes with a 1.25” visual back, a 1.25” prism star diagonal, and two 1.25” Plossl eyepieces: a 40mm E-Lux (providing 50x magnification) and a 13mm (153x) of reasonably high quality. However, you’ll want to get a focal reducer or alternatively a 2” diagonal and eyepieces to maximize the field of view you can get with the scope, as well as one or two additional high-power eyepieces and/or a 2x Barlow lens.

Overall, an excellent choice.

Sky-Watcher 12″ FlexTube SynScan GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian

The 12” FlexTube GoTo has a massive amount of light-gathering ability but retains a fair amount of portability and can easily be moved and set up by one person thanks to Sky-Watcher’s innovative FlexTube system.
  • 12” aperture blows away smaller instruments in viewing quality
  • Fairly easy to transport yourself
  • Can be aimed manually

The 12” FlexTube GoTo features a massive 305mm (12”) primary mirror which collects more than double as much light as an 8” with 50% more resolving power (or 44% more light and 20% more resolution than a 10”). This transforms views of deep-sky objects – spiral arms in galaxies like M51 become fair game under dark skies. The 12” FlexTube’s collapsible tube also really comes in handy for transport, reducing the 5’ long tube to about 3’, which means it’ll fit sideways across the back of a car with no problems, unlike a traditional solid-tubed 12” f/5 Dobsonian telescope. You can aim the 12” FlexTube GoTo manually with or without the motors powered on; the advanced encoders on the mount allow the computer to keep track of your manual movements without them impacting its alignment on the sky as with Sky-Watcher’s other computerized Dobsonian models. 

The 12” FlexTube comes with the same 25mm (60x) and 10mm (150x) Super Konig eyepieces as many of Sky-Watcher’s other telescopes, and a 2” single-speed Crayford focuser. For a finder, you get a straight-through 9×50 unit. As with all open-tubed telescopes, some kind of shroud is needed to keep light and moisture out of the telescope tube and preserve contrast at the eyepiece, especially under light-polluted skies, but this is not a huge expense and is easy to make yourself, too.

Sky-Watcher 14″ FlexTube SynScan GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian

The 14” FlexTube has even more light gathering than the 10” and 12” models, with the bonus of a dual-speed Crayford focuser and a fully collapsible base.
  • 14” aperture for super bright and sharp views
  • Base and tube can both be compacted for storage/transport
  • Dual-speed 2” Crayford focuser

The 14” FlexTube is, in some ways, slightly more portable than the 12” model. Unlike the smaller FlexTube scopes, the 14” model’s base assembles with hand knobs and is designed to be packed flat. Assembly of both the tube and collapsed base takes minutes and requires no tools. This means you can fit the tube and base into a smaller space than would otherwise be possible – particularly if you are transporting the telescope in a vehicle.

A 14” Dobsonian has even brighter images than a 12” – though side by side, a 36% gain in light grasp doesn’t seem that impressive, it’s triple the light-gathering ability of an 8” (compared to double that of an 8” with 12” of aperture). The 14” FlexTube also features a dual-speed 2” Crayford focuser for finer focusing adjustment at high magnification, and it includes the same 9×50 finder and pair of Super Konig eyepieces as the other Sky-Watcher FlexTube scopes (25mm and 10mm, providing 66x and 165x magnification in the 14” FlexTube respectively).

As with the other FlexTube GoTo scopes, you need a shroud for this instrument, and the telescope can be aimed either manually, with the included hand paddle, or you can push it around the sky while the GoTo system and hand controller are activated without impairing the precision star alignment of the mount.

Sky-Watcher 16″ FlexTube SynScan GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian

The 16” FlexTube features the same great features of all of Sky-Watcher’s smaller GoTo Dobsonians, but with even more light gathering and resolving power.
  • Colossal 16” aperture for super bright and high-resolution views of all objects
  • Conical, thin primary mirror means faster cooldown time
  • 2” dual-speed Crayford focuser

The 16” FlexTube provides even more light-gathering ability and resolving power than a 12” or 14” scope. As with the 14” FlexTube, the 16” model has a dual-speed 2” Crayford focuser and the base collapses flat for transport/storage. However, the optical tube – even when collapsed – is so big and heavy that moving it yourself is a difficult task, and it requires a fairly large vehicle to transport. The usual considerations of a shroud and additional eyepieces apply here too.

Tips on Choosing the Best Computerized Telescope

  • Power

Except for the Celestron NexStar Evolution telescopes, almost every computerized telescope requires a portable power supply, either a 12-volt lead-acid rechargeable DC battery or lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. Either adds cost to your scope and has to be hauled around. Some telescopes can use AA batteries as backups, but they will quickly guzzle them within a few observing sessions, and continually replenishing them is expensive. So, always budget at least $50 for a power supply.

  • You Get What You Pay For

Cheaper computerized telescopes have weaker tripods and plastic or imprecise gears, and tend to consume more power. They’re also typically smaller and include lower-quality or fewer accessories.

  • Aperture

More aperture means more light-collecting area, which allows you to see fainter objects more easily. Light-gathering ability goes up with the square of the aperture, so an 8” telescope gathers four times as much light as a 4” telescope.

Aperture also increases resolution, which in turn increases the maximum magnification usable with a given telescope. Resolution increases linearly with diameter, so an 8” telescope has twice the resolution of a 4” telescope.

  • Magnification

On a night of good seeing, a telescope can be used at as much as 40–50x per inch of aperture. However, more power doesn’t show you more things, and most planetary/lunar observers use around 30x/inch for observations. For deep-sky observing, particularly for large objects and to find things in the sky, use as low a power as possible.

6 thoughts on “Best 17 Computerized Telescopes 2024: Ultimate Rankings”

  1. I own an old nexstar 4 . The hand control failed although the direction buttons still work. I have a large tripod, a full set of eyepieces and filters, and a sun filter. What can I purchase that would be reliable and utilize some of my old accessories. I would want to have minimal alignment or setup requirements.

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  2. Thank you for this site. My brother and his family are going to moving into a new home in a secluded area where they should be surrounded by beautiful dark skies and nature, and I want to gift them a telescope as a housewarming. Honestly, I do not feel we have any future astronomers among the group, but I would like to give them something sturdy and amateur user friendly. I like the idea of giving them a “push to” or “go-to” telescope. I was looking at the Meade StarNavigator NG based on the Space.com site, but I see it is not a recommendation for you. Can you help me determine what I should be looking at given what I have shared, please? Thank you for your consideration

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  3. Looking for a review of a Celestron CPC 1100 StarBright XLT GPS Schmidt-Cassegrain 2800mm Telescope with Tripod and Tube model. I saw this at an auction preview.

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  4. Hello, I ordered the Sky-Watcher Virtuoso GTI 150P and am excitedly waiting for the same. What accessories do you suggest? This will be my first telescope and will be observing more from the backyard. Thinking of a simple step stool for the table to setup the telescope. Guessing eyepieces are the most importan accessory I need. No specific budget, looking for best value rather than lowest price or maximum performance. I wear glasses for short sight and will be with my 6y daughter who does not. Do eye pieces come with diopter adjustment like binoculars? Thinking of binoviewers for planetary watching so may be buying double the eyepieces. Lots of light pollution from street lights and neighbors so will likely need a shroud. What would you recommend? Thanks!

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    • You don’t need a diopter adjustment or anything like that, just focus for your own eyesight. Binoviewers have diopters.

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