315+ Telescopes Ranked

View Rankings

Celestron PowerSeeker 60AZ Review: Not Recommended

The Celestron PowerSeeker 60AZ is a classic example of a “department store telescope” which should be avoided like the plague.
Photo of author

When you read one of my reviews at TelescopicWatch, you can trust that not only have I gotten to use the product, but I’ve compared it to numerous others and tinkered with it down to the literal nuts and bolts. When I'm not writing reviews, I'm out under the night sky with my own homemade or modified telescopes, with over 7 years of hands-on experience in astronomy, having owned 430 telescopes myself, of which 20 I built entirely.

Tested by

Score Breakdown

Optics: 3/5

Focuser: 2/5

Mount: 2/5

Moon & Planets: 3/5

Rich Field: 2/5

Accessories: 2/5

Ease of use: 1/5

Portability: 4/5

Value: 1/5

Read our scoring methodology here

The Celestron PowerSeeker 60AZ is a complete waste of money and a disappointment for any amateur astronomer. Despite its low price tag, I’m frustrated by the subpar optics and flimsy construction of this telescope, which fail to meet even my most basic expectations. It’s painfully clear to me that the company cut corners in every aspect of its design and production, a stark departure from the high-quality telescopes that Celestron’s brand is known for, as with the rest of the PowerSeeker and AstroMaster telescopes.

Cheap, tripod-mounted telescopes are bound to be underwhelming to beginners, as are small refractors – and the PowerSeeker 60AZ falls into both categories. Its wobbly mount is almost impossible to use, and I feel as if the entire telescope could break at any moment. The included accessories are bad, and it’s simply too small to be very capable even were it not handicapped by its many flaws. We would recommend avoiding the purchase of almost any tripod-mounted telescope at below around the $100 USD price range, as well as considering either increasing your budget to over $100 USD or sticking with a pair of astronomy binoculars in lieu of purchasing the PowerSeeker 60AZ.

Celestron PowerSeeker 60AZ

How It Stacks Up

Ranks #18 of 33 ~$75 telescopes





Celestron PowerSeeker 60AZ


See All Telescopes' Ranklist

Best Similar Featured Alternative: Meade Infinity 70mm Altazimuth Refractor

What We Like

  • Acceptable optics
  • Looks nice
  • Acceptable low-power eyepiece

What We Don't Like

  • Mount is nearly impossible to aim and is too wobbly
  • Low-quality accessories
  • Too small and poorly made to be very useful for any kind of viewing
Not Recommended Telescope

While the PowerSeeker 60AZ may be a cheap and attractive option for those looking to dip their toes into the world of amateur astronomy, it is nothing short of a disappointment and a true “hobby killer”.

The Optical Tube

The PowerSeeker 60AZ is a 60mm achromatic doublet refractor with a focal length of 700mm and a resulting f/ratio of f/11.7. An achromatic refractor at this focal ratio has slight chromatic aberration, visible as purple halos around the brightest objects such as the Moon, planets, and stars, but not enough to severely impair image quality. The optical quality of the PowerSeeker 60AZ’s objective lens is decent, and that’s one of the few good things about the whole telescope.

For a focuser, the PowerSeeker 60AZ uses a plastic 1.25” rack-and-pinion unit. A plastic focuser is not inherently bad, and they are quite common on lower-cost beginner scopes. A 1.25” drawtube is also a lot better than the subpar 0.965” standard of many low-quality instruments. The PowerSeeker 60AZ’s focuser, on the other hand, has a lot of wobble and slop. The drawtube sags and wobbles when you adjust it or move the telescope, which makes the entire view through the eyepiece shift around.

The PowerSeeker 60AZ attaches directly to its alt-azimuth fork mount by securing knobs to the tube, which also function as its bearings and clutches for up-and-down motions.


The PowerSeeker 60AZ includes a 1.25” erect-image Amici prism diagonal, a 3x Barlow lens, and two 1.25” eyepieces: a 20mm Kellner (35x) and a 4mm Ramsden (175x).

The PowerSeeker 60AZ’s included 20mm Kellner eyepiece is of decent quality, with a 50-degree apparent field of view and a fairly sharp image. It would have been nice to have a lower power ocular, but the included Amici prism diagonal wouldn’t let you use a wider field eyepiece because its prism is too small. This Amici prism diagonal is included with many of the cheap refractors offered by Celestron, offering the allure of a corrected left-right image but with the Faustian bargain of internal reflections, diffraction spikes, and some impairment to overall sharpness. A good Amici prism would still have the spikes and reflections as a consequence of its design, but its low manufacturing tolerances make the situation worse, and the too-small prism chokes the light coming through the telescope’s already-small objective lens.

I’ve found the 4mm Ramsden eyepiece provided with the PowerSeeker 60AZ to be utterly abysmal. To begin with, 175x exceeds the usable magnification of any 60mm telescope, providing a dim, hard-to-focus image—and that’s ignoring the reality that the 60AZ hardly has a stable enough mount to handle half that much magnification. The 4mm Ramsden is also entirely plastic, including the optics, and has an apparent field of view less than 35 degrees across. It requires you to jam your eye into it to look through it at all, and the Ramsden design adds a ton of chromatic aberration on top of the already-blurry views it provides. It is essentially as useful as an extra cap for the back end of the telescope.

The 3x Barlow lens is included with the PowerSeeker telescopes to enable a technical fulfillment of Celestron’s outlandish claims, in this case being able to provide 525x when used with the PowerSeeker 60AZ. Not only is it unlikely that a telescope ten times the size of the 60AZ would be able to use such a magnification, but the Barlow is made of plastic and has a single negative lens that can’t make anything close to a sharp image, even when used with the 20mm Kellner for 105x (which would be the limit of a 60mm telescope on a steady mount).

For a finder, the PowerSeeker 60AZ comes with a 5×24 unit that uses a stopped-down objective lens made out of a single piece of plastic; the aperture stop brings it to around 10mm, marginally greater than the aperture of your own eyeball. The eyepiece has a narrow field of view, with rainbows of chromatic aberration visible whenever the finder is pointed at anything bright, though it can at least be easily adjusted for focus by twisting it, and the crosshairs do show up. The images are blurry, and stars actually appear dimmer through the 5×24 than to your naked eye, despite the whole purpose of a magnifying finder scope being to show you fainter stars than the unaided eye alone can see. 

As bad as it is, the PowerSeeker’s 5×24 finder is at least a better option than attempting to sight through its empty plastic bracket or along the tube. Aligning the finder is, however, also a nuisance, as the plastic bracket and tiny screws do not stay aligned over time, and the finder is only prevented from wobbling within the bracket by a ring of transparent plastic acting as a shim.

The PowerSeeker AZ Mount

The PowerSeeker 60AZ uses a flimsy alt-azimuth fork mount, which pivots up-down and left-right like a photo tripod. The telescope is suspended between the cast-metal tines of the mount. The up-and-down pivot is made up of the two knobs that hold the telescope to the mount and a metal rod that can be used for something that looks like fine adjustment but is really just a decorative piece. The azimuth pivot is made up of a screw in a cylindrical shaft and another screw that is used to tighten it. 

Fine motion is not possible on either axis of the PowerSeeker 60AZ’s mount, with the altitude motions being particularly wobbly and hard to aim. This is not helped by the tripod, which has extendable aluminum legs. The tripod is simply too light to be stable, especially with the legs extended, and most of the hardware is fragile plastic, which may even crack during normal use, such as the leg locks. The mount and tripod are so loose that when you try to focus or aim the telescope at 35x, the whole thing shakes.

Should I buy a Used Celestron PowerSeeker 60AZ?

The PowerSeeker 60AZ is a terrible telescope, and the only thing of value might be the included 20mm Kellner eyepiece if you can get one of these scopes for free. Otherwise, don’t bother.

Alternative Recommendations

The PowerSeeker 60AZ is a pretty awful choice for a beginner telescope. If your budget is under $100 USD, your only option is a Celestron FirstScope (not much of an improvement, really) or a pair of 50- or 60-mm astronomy binoculars, which are great for deep-sky views but won’t do much for the Moon and planets. If your budget is more than $100 USD, you can choose from a number of good telescopes other than the PowerSeeker 60AZ.

Under $200

  • The Zhumell Z100/Orion SkyScanner 100 has a stable, simple and easy-to-aim tabletop Dobsonian mount, as well significantly more light-collecting and resolving power than the PowerSeeker 60AZ, with a pair of quality eyepieces and an easy-to-use red dot finder included too.
  • The SarBlue Mak60 w/Tabletop Dobsonian Mount has similar specs and optical performance to the PowerSeeker 60AZ but is far steadier and more compact, though it does lack much in the way of deep-sky viewing capabilities and only includes one eyepiece.
  • The Orion SpaceProbe II 76EQ isn’t the best option out there, but its EQ-1 equatorial mount is steadier and offers more fine adjustment than the 60AZ, and the 76mm aperture provides slightly more light gathering and resolving power. You also get a pair of decent Kellner eyepieces and a simple red dot finder for aiming.


  • The Sky-Watcher Heritage 150P is a serious telescope with vastly more light gathering and resolving power than the 60AZ, in a convenient and portable package thanks to its collapsible tube and tabletop Dobsonian mount.
  • The Sky-Watcher Heritage 130P, as with the Heritage 150P, blows away the PowerSeeker 60AZ in capability and quality, with an easy-to-use mount, decent provided accessories, and a collapsible tube for portability.
  • The Zhumell Z114/Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro is a bit more capable than a 100mm instrument and vastly outpaces the PowerSeeker 60AZ, with sharp optics, good quality accessories, and a sturdy and simple Dobsonian mount. You also get a solid rather than an open collapsible tube, which some users may prefer over the Sky-Watcher Heritage telescopes.

What can you see?

In spite of the great difficulty in using it and its lousy overall capabilities, the PowerSeeker 60AZ may still be able to show you a few things, which is why it gets good reviews on Amazon from people who are impressed with the most basic capabilities a telescope can offer. A good medium- or high-power eyepiece costs half as much as the 60AZ itself and is unlikely to be easy to use with its wobbly mount, so we’re assuming you’re stuck at 35x.

The Moon shows a lot of detail with the PowerSeeker 60AZ, as with any decent telescope. At only 35x, you’re hardly pushing the resolution capabilities of even a 60mm instrument and are unlikely to even notice the effects of bad seeing. The larger lunar craters and mountain chains, as well as the most prominent ridges, can be seen, along with the smooth texture of the lunar maria.

Mercury proves too small to resolve with only 35x, and even at higher powers, you’d likely have a hard time seeing its phases with the PowerSeeker 60AZ. On the other hand, the phases of brilliant Venus are obvious if you aren’t too distracted by the enormous glare from its dazzling cloud tops combined with the purple halo of chromatic aberration around the planet.

Many beginners are just excited to see the four large moons of Jupiter with the PowerSeeker 60AZ, a feat that can also be accomplished with a pair of cheaper and infinitely more useful 7x binoculars, but a good telescope of slightly larger aperture would be able to resolve their disks and shadows during transits, along with Jupiter’s Great Red Spot and various small atmospheric details. The 60AZ at 35x will show you the moons (even the 5×24 finder can likely reveal at least one) and the two main equatorial cloud belts in Jupiter’s atmosphere, though not the Great Red Spot or any signs of transits.

Saturn’s rings can be seen at 35x with the PowerSeeker 60AZ. If it had a decent high-power eyepiece, viewing the Cassini Division in the rings and some cloud belts on Saturn would also be possible with the 60AZ if you could hold it steady. Unfortunately, this is not the case. However, you can see planet-sized Titan at a minimum, along with possibly a few other moons—Rhea being the easiest, but slightly dimmer Tethys, Dione, and Iapetus can also be seen if you’re lucky. Uranus and Neptune are indistinguishable from stars with the PowerSeeker 60AZ, and Pluto is far beyond its light-gathering capabilities.

The PowerSeeker 60AZ can show you the brightest and most prominent deep-sky objects if you can get it pointed at them. Open star clusters are really the only thing outside the Solar System of much interest in a 60mm telescope apart from double stars; many open clusters such as the Pleiades or Double Cluster reveal hundreds of individual members, while double stars often require more than 35x to split, apart from the most prominent and easy pairings such as Almach, Albireo, or Cor Caroli. Galaxies like Andromeda show up in the eyepiece, but you’re not going to see any detail. Globular star clusters remain unresolved, and most planetary nebulae are too small to see at 35x as well as often too dim. The Orion Nebula (M42) can be seen as a puffy cloud with the Trapezium cluster within, along with the Lagoon (M8), but fine detail and dimmer nebulae are simply beyond the 60AZ’s capabilities. If you are under light-polluted skies, your views of deep-sky objects will be further impacted, and even open clusters may struggle to stand out thanks to the 60AZ’s miniscule aperture.

Zane Landers

An amateur astronomer and telescope maker from Connecticut who has been featured on TIME magazineNational GeographicLa Vanguardia, and Clarin, The Guardian, The Arizona Daily Star, and Astronomy Technology Today and had won the Stellafane 1st and 3rd place Junior Awards in the 2018 Convention. Zane has owned over 425 telescopes, of which around 400 he has actually gotten to take out under the stars. These range from the stuff we review on TelescopicWatch to homemade or antique telescopes; the oldest he has owned or worked on so far was an Emil Busch refractor made shortly before the outbreak of World War I. Many of these are telescopes that he repaired or built.

Leave a Comment