Rankings of 55 Dobsonian telescopes

In our opinion, everyone interested in visual astronomy should own a Dobsonian. Dobsonians offer best aperture per buck and thus excel at visual observation, where aperture is the definitive factor of what you can see. While its mount is very simple, it’s also very rigid. 

Jump to dobsonians of aperture :-
Jump to dobsonians of aperture :-

3" (76mm) Tabletop Dobsonians

All of the 3″ tabletop Dobsonians feature spherical primary mirrors and less-than-ideal accessories. While fun gifts, they’re admittedly well short of providing decent performance or image quality.

Rank 1
While not particularly useful overall, the Funscope 76 offers a super-cheap introduction to the world of astronomy and telescopes in a diminutive package. It’s not a serious observing tool by any means, but the FunScope comes with quality accessories and handles similarly to a much larger instrument.
Celestron Cometron Firstscope Tabletop Dobsonian
Rank 2
The Cometron FirstScope is similar to the Funscope in terms of overall usefulness and sports largely the same optics and accessories, but uses an optical as opposed to a battery-powered red dot finder. This may make the scope a little more inconvenient to use, but reduces the cost by a small amount.
National Park Foundation FirstScope Tabletop Dobsonian
Rank 3
The National Park Foundation FirstScope is the same basic telescope kit as the Cometron and Funscope 76mm tabletop telescopes, but lacks any finder at all - instead simply being aimed by sighting down the tube.
Rank 4
The basic bare-bones FirstScope will work okay, but lacks a finder or acceptable quality eyepieces. The views through this instrument at even low powers are mushy and the eyepieces feel like looking through a drinking straw.
Celestron FirstScope Moon Signature Tabletop Dobsonian
Rank 5
Identical to the Celestron Firstscope, but with a different optical tube decoration.

4" (100mm) Tabletop Dobsonians

Most 4″ tabletop Dobsonians aren’t collimatable, but feature parabolic primary mirrors with rather sharp images. They’re also capable of being mated to photo tripods for on-the-go use.

Rank 1
The Zhumell Z100, unlike its smaller sub-$100 brethren, offers a truly parabolic primary mirror allowing for sharp images of the Moon, planets, and other targets at anything but the lowest powers. It’s also extremely portable, fitting in even a moderately sized backpack.
Rank 2
The SkyScanner has all of the same advantages and disadvantages of the Z100 and exactly the same optics, but includes a 20mm Kellner eyepiece (20x) instead of the Z100’s 17mm Kellner (24x) for low power.

4.5" (114mm) Tabletop Dobsonians

A 4.5″ tabletop Dobsonian is still capable of fitting in a very small space and sets up in seconds.
 
Zhumell Z114 Tabletop Dobsonian
Rank 1
The Zhumell Z114 offers many of the same advantages of the Z100, but with a collimatable and slightly larger primary mirror offering sharper images and 30% more light gathering capability. It features the same red dot finder and 17mm/10mm Kellner eyepieces that are included with the Z100.
Rank 2
While often recommended as a beginner telescope and indeed not a bad choice, the Orion StarBlast Astro is essentially identical to the cheaper Zhumell Z114, and offers no significant differences. At its price point, you’d be better served by the equatorially-mounted StarBlast II or one of the 130mm (5") tabletop dobsonian reflectors.

4.5" Classic Dobsonians

The Orion XT4.5 may have less aperture than some of its cheaper rivals such as Zhumell Z130 and Heritage 130P, but has an ultra-smooth true Dobsonian mount with real bearings as opposed to tabletop Dobsonian mounts. Its high-quality included Sirius Plossl eyepieces, and its long focal ratio makes it significantly easier to collimate. The scope’s long tube also means that it doesn’t necessarily need a full-height table or stool to be at a comfortable height for use - a milk crate or box will probably do.

5" (130mm) Tabletop Dobsonians

A 5″ Dobsonian is getting heavy for a table, but is still a very portable and easy-to-use beginner scope. 
 
Zhumell Z130 Tabletop Dobsonian
Rank 1
The Z130 is the best of the Zhumell tabletop Dobs, featuring even more aperture and a slower focal ratio of f/5 which makes it less demanding of collimation and eyepiece quality. Z130 comes with tube rings and a nicer focuser when compared to Heritage 130P. The only downside is that at over 20 pounds, you’ll be hard pressed to find a suitable surface for the scope to rest on.
Sky-Watcher Heritage 130p Tabletop Dobsonian
Rank 2
The Heritage includes the same accessories and sports the same optics as the Z130, but features a collapsible tube that allows it to fit into a smaller space and reduces the weight by a bit when compared to Z130 which makes it a better choice for kids. This does create the disadvantage of stray light being able to easily enter the tube, which can be (mostly) remedied by creating a foam shroud. For an adult, the weight difference is insignificant.

6" Dobs

6" Classic Dobsonians

A full-sized 6″ Dobsonian doesn’t need a table, but is still surprisingly lightweight and portable – while being vastly easier to collimate than its shorter tabletop cousins. If it’s all you can afford, a 6″ Dobsonian is a good choice. 
 
Orion Skyline 6"
Dobsonian
Rank 1
The Orion SkyLine 6 provides some of the best value in its class. With an all-metal 1.25” Crayford focuser, high-quality 25mm (48x) and 9mm (133x) and a full-sized Dobsonian mount, you’re sure to get bright, sharp views of the heavens without having to deal with a tabletop mount nor a spindly tripod.
Apertura DT6
Dobsonian
Rank 2
The DT6 is essentially a SkyLine 6 copy without the included 9mm eyepiece, meaning you’ll have to go shopping for an extra eyepiece or two if you want high-magnification views of the Moon, planets, double stars, and globular star clusters. The eyepiece of the DT6 is a good 25mm Plossl, whereas the Skywatcher Classic comes with "Super" Modified Achromats, though they do come with both a 25mm and a 10mm instead of only the 25mm.
Rank 3
The Sky-Watcher 6” Traditional - like all 6” Dobsonians - offers tremendous value and convenience. Unlike the SkyLine 6, the 6” Traditional sports a 2” rack-and-pinion focuser, enabling the use of 2” eyepieces down the line. But you don't really need a 2" eyepiece in a 6" f/8 telescope due to secondary mirror illumination.
Rank 4
The XT6 Plus includes more accessories than its competitors - a solar filter and 2x Barlow lens to complement its 25mm and 10mm eyepieces, and an attractive white trim - but its 1.25” focuser is all plastic, plus the scope has a steeper price tag than other 6” Dobsonians.
Rank 5
The XT6 is sometimes the cheapest 6” Dobsonian available, and performs just as well as its competitors, but has the worst value. With a plastic, 1.25”-only focuser and only a single eyepiece (25mm, 48x), by the time you get it up and running you’ll have spent significantly more money than if you’d just bought one of the other scopes in its price range to begin with.

6" Tabletop Dobsonians

A 6″ tabletop Dobsonian is great for those who need an ultra-portable scope of decent aperture, but really needs a custom support or a permanent solid surface, not a table.
 
With its f/5 focal ratio, the StarBlast 6 provides a wider field of view and lower magnifications with a given eyepiece than the 6” f/8 Dobsonians listed above, but requires a rock-solid tabletop for use and has more stringent collimation requirements. At f/5, coma is noticeable, especially in wide-angle eyepieces, but it's not horrible for the price and extra portability.

6" Computerized Tabletop Dobsonians

While lesser in aperture than similarly-priced offerings, the StarBlast 6i’s tremendously wide field of view and its IntelliScope PushTo system makes locating deep-sky objects an absolute breeze, and the included accessories are decent too.

8" Dobs

8″ Dobsonian is the best balance of aperture, portability, affordability, and simplicity for a beginner.  An 8″ Dobsonian is almost exactly the same physical size from a 6″ apart from the wider tube, but offers significantly more resolution and nearly double the light collecting capability. 8″ Dobsonians are usually the most recommended size for beginners and hobbyists, and are made to last a lifetime.

8" Classic Dobsonians

Apertura AD8
Dobsonian
Rank 1
GSO-made 'best bang for your buck' offering from HighPointScientific, the US' largest telescope retailer. It's optically and functionally the same as the Zhumell Z8/Orion Skyline 8", but often priced lower and with superior customer service. Z8 and AD8 have the exact same set of eyepieces, focuser, altitude bearing, and finderscope.
Rank 2
Produced by the same company, GSO, the Zhumell Z8 is the exact replica of Apertura AD8 and is optically similar to Orion Skyline 8". If you can't get hold of Apertura AD8 for some reason, Zhumell Z8 is the clear 8" Dobsonian of choice.
Orion Skyline 8"
Dobsonian
Rank 3
Other than the branding, altitude bearings, and accessories, the Skyline 8" is the same scope as AD8/Z8 and is made by GSO as well. Orion's extreme price markup because of their brand name makes it the best pick only if the Apertura AD8 or Zhumell Z8 is not available.
Rank 4
The XT8 Plus features a bundle of extra accessories such as 2x Barlow lens and a solar filter which are not present in the Z8/AD8/Skyline 8, but lacks the cooling fan, right-angle finderscope, and laser collimator of the GSO 8”(Z8, AD8, Skyline 8) or the right-angle finderscope of Sky-Watcher Flextube.
Rank 5
Sky-Watcher's 8” Traditional is usually the cheapest 8" Dobsonian available in the US and comes with the bare essentials to get started, but its straight-through finderscope is uncomfortable to use and the included eyepieces are decidedly mediocre.
Rank 6
The plain Orion XT8 is a nice scope, but needs some extra accessories - or at least a high-magnification eyepiece - to unlock its full capabilities, and by the time you invest in such an upgrade you could’ve just bought a scope with even more included out of the box.
Apertura DT8 Dobsonian
Rank 7
The DT8, like the XT8, is a solid choice for beginners but needs a high-magnification eyepiece for optimal planetary/lunar views and the price is a bit steep considering the lack of accessories.
Rank 8
The FirstLight 8’s included accessories are abysmal, but the unique variation on the Dobsonian mounting and ultra-heavy-duty focuser allow for greater versatility with heavy, expensive aftermarket wide-angle eyepieces, and the rotatable tube rings make for a slightly more comfortable observing experience.

8" Truss Tube Dobsonians

8" Computerized Dobsonians

Orion SkyQuest XT8g Dobsonian GoTo
The XT8g features full GoTo, but can be pushed around manually with or without aligning the GoTo system - and without disrupting the alignment of said GoTo system. It also has the same dual-speed focuser as the higher-end 8” manual Dobsonians on our list, and can even be controlled via your phone or tablet with the SynScan Pro app or SkySafari.
Sky-Watcher 8" Flextube SynScan Collapsible Dobsonian GoTo
The GoTo 8” Collapsible is more or less a regular 8” Collapsible with the same SynScan system as the XT8g, but without the XT8g’s dual-speed focuser.
The XT8i’s Intelliscope system allows for easy, seamless location of deep-sky objects - though it doesn’t automatically slew the telescope to them nor track for you. If you’re feeling adventurous, the scope can just be used manually like any other Dob.

10" Dobs

10″ Dobsonians gathers 56% more light compared to 8″ Dobsonians and is totally worth it if you don’t mind the extra weight and bulk.  While a little less compact than smaller models, a 10″ Dobsonian is easily transported in most vehicles and provides even more brilliant views. A truss-tube 10″ will take more time and consideration to set up compared to a solid tube 10″ dobsonian. 

10" Classic Dobsonians

Apertura AD10
Dobsonian
Rank 1
The Apertura AD10 builds on the AD8 by adding just a bit more aperture. The accessories and focal length are the same, and the scope is only a tiny bit more bulky, but the views are over 56% brighter than an 8” scope! If you can afford the additional expense, it is well worth it compared to an 8” Dobsonian.
Zhumell Z10
Dobsonian
Rank 2
The Z10 is made by GSO, the same manufacturer as the Apertura AD scopes, but sold by a different company. It is absolutely identical to the AD10 in every way.
Orion Skyline 10"
Dobsonian
Rank 3
The Skyline 10 is identical to the Z10 and AD10, but at a significant price markup and occasionally with a cheap star chart tossed in.
Apertura DT10
Dobsonian
Rank 4
The DT10 is essentially a stripped-down AD10 with only a basic 25mm Plossl eyepiece, a straight-through rather than right-angle finder, a single-speed focuser, and none of the other accessories included. If you’d rather start basic and upgrade later, it’s not a bad choice.
Sky-Watcher 10" Classic Dobsonian
Rank 5
Another more “bare-bones” entry, the Sky-Watcher 10” Classic comes with two eyepieces, a 9x50 finderscope, and a single-speed focuser.
Orion SkyQuest XT10 Plus Dobsonian
Rank 6
The XT10 Plus is almost as well-accessorized as the GSO 10” Dobsonian and its various rebrands, but lacks a cooling fan and sports a higher price tag. It does, however, include a solar filter and 2x Barlow lens.
Explore Scientific FirstLight 10" Dobsonian
Rank 7
The FirstLight 10”, like its smaller brethren is well-designed but lacks even a functional set of accessories - the finder and eyepiece will need to be replaced right away.
Rank 8
The base XT10 is a great scope, but to get the most out of it you will definitely want more eyepieces, and perhaps a better finderscope - all the more reason to consider one of the more well-accessorized scopes listed above and save yourself the trouble.

10" Truss Tube Dobsonians

Meade 10" LightBridge Plus Truss Tube Dobsonian
The Lightbridge Plus offers a significant portability bonus over the solid-tubed 10” and 8” scopes on our list. However, this comes at the cost of an increased setup time and slightly inferior included accessories - and for the best views you’ll want a cloth light shroud to cover the truss tube.
Explore Scientific’s 10” Truss Dob is quite pricey, but is all-metal in construction and is absurdly compact when dismantled. It also has multiple built-in cooling fans. The scope includes no eyepieces, however, and really needs a shroud to reduce stray light.
Sky-Watcher 10" Flextube Collapsible Dobsonian
The 10” Flextube is not as compact as the Explore Scientific and Meade truss offerings, but is much easier and quicker to assemble. It also comes with a nice 9x50 right-angle finderscope like the GSO Dobsonians.

10" Computerized Dobsonians

Sky-Watcher 10" Collapsible Dobsonian GoTo
Featuring full GoTo and a collapsible tube, the 10” Collapsible is a great option for beginners and experienced users alike. Like most GoTo Dobsonians, the 10” Collapsible can be operated completely manually should you not want to use the GoTo system, and it can be adjusted manually without upsetting the GoTo alignment.
Orion SkyQuest XT10g Dobsonain GoTo
The XT10G is basically identical in operation to the 10” Collapsible GoTo, but of course lacks the collapsible tube - and features a dual-speed focuser, unlike the Collapsible.
Orion SkyQuest XT10i Dobsonian PushTo
Like the other XTi scopes, the XT10i’s Intelliscope system aids in aiming the scope to thousands of deep-sky targets. The XT10i’s large cutouts in the base also greatly aid in overall portability and reduce the weight of the scope, making it an improvement over regular 10” Dobs even if you don’t plan on utilizing the Intelliscope system particularly often.

12" Dobs

A 12″ Dobsonian often takes serious consideration before purchasing. The sheer size and bulk of solid-tubed offerings necessitates either a strong user and large vehicle or an easy setup such as rolling out of a garage. A 12″ truss tube is relatively compact, but takes a fair amount of time to assemble and collimate. If you’re willing to put up with the hassle, scopes this size will deliver images that are nothing short of spectacular.
 

12" Classic Dobsonians

Apertura AD12
Dobsonian
The AD12’s massive tube requires a strong owner and large vehicle (or a convenient at-home setup such as a dolly or cart to simply roll it outside) to be set up and transported easily, but if you can fulfill these requirements you’ll be rewarded with massive aperture and stunning views at a price that can’t be beat with the help of best accessories in the class.
The Z12 is basically the same as the AD12, though it is offered at slightly higher or lower prices depending on circumstances and available stock.
Orion Skyline
12" Dobsonian
The Skyline 12 is essentially identical to the Z12 and AD12 but at a much higher price. You can also buy the Skyline 12 as a “kit” with a 2” UHC filter and some charts included - for even more money.

12" Truss Tube Dobsonians

Explore Scientific 12" Truss Tube Dobsonian
Rank 1
The Explore Scientific 12" Dobsonian is one of the most compact commercial Dobs on the market, with a solid, all-metal design allowing it to fit in a car seat if need be.
Meade 12" LightBridge Plus Dobsonian
Rank 2
The 12" Lightbridge is a bit sturdier in build than the 12" Explore Scientific, and is easier to assemble - albeit not as compact.
Sky-Watcher 12" Flextube Collapsible Dobsonian
Rank 3
The 12” Flextube is much simpler to assemble and disassemble than the Lightbridge, but does not break into as many nor as small pieces as its competitor. However, the collapsing tube may be all you need to fit it in a moderately-sized sedan or SUV.

12" Computerized Dobsonians

Orion SkyQuest XX12g Dobsonian GoTo
The XX12g is optically identical to the XX12i, but with full GoTo as opposed to the Intelliscope system. It’s probably the most rewarding scope to use of all the ones we recommend on our list. Larger and more expensive GoTo Dobsonians exist, but we’d recommend sticking with a 12” or smaller scope to start with.
Sky-Watcher 12" Flextube Dobsonian GoTo
The 12” Flextube is a little more cumbersome than the XX12g, but considerably simpler to set up for each use - it’s best if you have a minivan or truck to transport it, however - or if you can store and roll it out of a garage.
The XX12i functions similarly to the XX12g, but features Orion’s Intelliscope Push-To system like the smaller XTi scopes in Orion’s catalog as opposed to the full GoTo system in the XX12g scopes.
Orion SkyQuest XT12i Dobsonian PushTo
While possessing the same massive size as the Orion Skyline 12"/Zhumell Z12/Apertura AD12, the XT12i features Orion’s Intelliscope system like its smaller brethren, and comes with cutouts in the base which greatly enhance portability.