Ranking 49 Dobsonian Telescopes Aperture-wise

Rank & ratings last updated on

Dobsonians should be owned by everybody interested in visual astronomy. Dobsonians give the best aperture for the price and are hence ideal for visual observation, where the aperture determines what can be observed. Its mount is straightforward and extremely rigid. 8-inch Dobsonians, which cost around $600, are the optimal choice for the majority of people. However, Dobsonians are not appropriate for astrophotography as a whole.
Caution
Though it is almost 2023, COVID-related disruptions in production lines combined with high consumer demand for telescopes have disrupted the industry, and thus, if you want a scope, you may have to place a backorder and wait several weeks to months.
We'd also advise against purchasing larger-sized telescopes ($400+) from Amazon because you'll get better technical and post-sales support, product range, and deals from online telescope retailers, as well as better assurance that you'll get what you ordered. Most $400+ telescopes are shipped in two boxes (tube in one and base in the other), and Amazon (or some of its third-party vendors) is notorious in the astronomy community for occasionally shipping only one of the boxes. That said, we still love Amazon for everything else and would recommend it for accessories, lower-priced telescopes, and even $300+ telescopes if (and only if) the pricing or availability is appealing! In the United States, High Point Scientific, AgenaAstro, and Orion's Telescope.com are all reputable retailers with excellent shipping, refund, and financing options, and your experience will be comparable to that of your typical Amazon purchases.
3"
4"
4.5"
5"
6"
8"
10"
12"

3" (76mm) Tabletop Dobsonians

All of the 3″ tabletop Dobsonians feature spherical primary mirrors and less-than-ideal accessories. While these make fun gifts, they’re admittedly well short of providing decent performance or image quality.
Rank 1
3.7/5
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. This is more expensive than the Cometron FirstScope and other FirstScopes due to the addition of better accessories.
Celestron Cometron Firstscope Tabletop Dobsonian
Rank 2
3.6/5
While not particularly useful overall, the Cometron Firstscope offers a super-cheap introduction to the world of astronomy and telescopes in a diminutive package. In terms of overall usefulness, the Cometron FirstScope is similar to the other FirstScopes and the Orion Funscope, with largely the same optics and accessories, but unlike the Funscope, it uses an optical red dot finder rather than 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
3.5/5
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
3.4/5
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
3.4/5
Replica of 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
4.25/5
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 into even a moderately sized backpack.
$159.99 at HighPoint Check Amazon Price
Rank 2
4.25/5
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.
SarBlue Mak60 with Dobsonian Mount
Rank 3
4.1/5
It won’t win any prizes for stunning deep-sky vistas, but the Mak60 and Dobsonian mount package provide a tremendously portable scope with sharp views of the Moon, planets, and double stars, with a reasonably useful set of included accessories and a steady, easy-to-aim mount.
Orion SkyScanner BL102mm
Rank 4
3.2/5
The SkyScanner BL102 has questionable optical quality, a mediocre build, and eyepieces that are straight up junk. It's a strange, unusual, and sudden departure for a company known primarily for its high-quality Dobsonians.

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.
Best Value
Zhumell Z114 Tabletop Dobsonian
Rank 1
4.3/5
The Zhumell Z114 offers many of the same advantages as the Zhumell 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.
$239.99 at HighPoint Check Amazon Price
Rank 2
4/5
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 5" tabletop dobsonian reflectors.
$279.99 at Orion

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. 
Sky-Watcher Heritage 130p Tabletop Dobsonian
Rank 1
4.3/5
The Heritage 130P has a whopping 130mm (5.1") of aperture, includes a pair of great eyepieces and a collimation tool, and also features a collapsible tube that allows it to fit into a smaller space, 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. However, the compactness and light weight are more than worth this minor inconvenience.
Zhumell Z130 Tabletop Dobsonian
Rank 2
4.3/5
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. The Z130 comes with tube rings and a nicer focuser when compared to the 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.
Orion SkyScanner BL135mm
Rank 3
3.45/5
Not only does the SkyScanner BL135 have an uncomfortably low height for a free-standing instrument, but it also suffers from a variety of shortcomings. Its optics are satisfactory, but the Dobsonian mount is poorly made, the focuser is almost unusable, and the eyepieces and finder are cheap garbage. The BL135 is quite literally an Orion-branded generic instrument that can be found on Alibaba, so there isn't anything unique here. 

5" Computerized Tabletop Dobsonians

4.4/5
The Virtuoso GTi 130P adds GoTo functionality to the beloved Heritage 130P without hindering the ability to move the telescope manually—even when powered on and aligned—with a minimal increase in weight. However, the usefulness of this feature with a wide-field and relatively small instrument is questionable, especially when a larger scope could be purchased for the same price. The 150mm model is only a bit more expensive.

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. 
Best Value
Apertura DT6
Dobsonian
Rank 1
4.7/5
The Apertura DT6 may not have the widest field of view thanks to its 1.25”-only focuser, nor much in the way of accessories. However, it’s easy to collimate, its focuser is well-made and all-metal, and it’s the best deal there is on a free-standing 6” Dobsonian. You’ll need more eyepieces, and might want to consider replacing the finder, but the DT6 will serve you well for a long time.
Rank 2
4.5/5
The XT6 is a nice scope with well-designed altitude bearings, good optics, and a 2” metal Crayford focuser, but its high price tag and basic accessories mean there are better deals to be had elsewhere in some cases. With recent changes to the scope’s design, it also has few differences from the more-expensive SkyLine 6.
Rank 3
4.4/5
The 6” Traditional has a poorly-designed “brake” for its altitude bearings, its rack-and-pinion focuser is inferior to a Crayford design, and the scope’s secondary mirror is too small to illuminate 2” eyepieces despite its focuser’s ability to take them. The included Super eyepieces are quite good, however, and optically the scope is as good as any other 6” f/8 Dob out there.
Orion Skyline 6"
Dobsonian
Rank 4
4.3/5
The SkyLine 6 used to be an improvement over the XT6, but due to shifts in price and upgrades to the XT6, this is no longer the case. The SkyLine 6” is essentially a dramatically price-hiked copy of the Apertura DT6, with no differences besides an extra included 9mm Plossl eyepiece (which isn’t anything special, and superior oculars are available separately for under $40).

6" Tabletop Dobsonians

A 6′′ tabletop Dobsonian is great for those who need an ultra-portable scope of decent aperture but really need a custom support or a permanent solid surface, not a table.
4.8/5
The Sky-Watcher Virtuoso GTi 150P is a fully GoTo 6” telescope in a compact, lightweight package that can be used manually. 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.
Sky-Watcher Heritage 150p Dobsonian
4.5/5
The Heritage 150P is essentially a bigger version of the smaller 130mm Heritage, with the same user-friendly tabletop Dobsonian mount and collapsible tube but a bit more light gathering capability. While still a tabletop telescope, it packs great views in a package that can fit in almost any vehicle, storage space, or container.

8″ Dobs

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

8″ Classic Dobsonians

Best Value
Apertura AD8 Dobsonian
Rank 1
4.9/5
GSO-made ‘best bang for your buck’ offering from HighPointScientific, the most popular US telescope retailer. It’s optically and functionally the same as the Zhumell Z8/Orion Skyline 8″, but often priced lower or similar. The Z8 and AD8 have the exact same set of eyepieces, focuser, altitude bearing, and finderscope. As of August 2022, AD8 is the best of the three options, and HighPointScientific’s assistance makes it superior in every way.
Rank 2
4.9/5
Produced by the same company GSO, the Zhumell Z8 is the exact replica of the Apertura AD8 and is optically similar to the Orion Skyline 8″. If you can’t get hold of Apertura AD8 for some reason, Zhumell Z8 is the clear 8″ Dobsonian of choice.
Celestron StarSense Explorer 8” Dobsonian
Rank 3
4.7/5
While not as well-accessorized as the AD8 or the Z8, the StarSense Explorer 8″ is lightweight, provides great views, and the StarSense Explorer technology makes the scope extremely easy to use, even for newcomers. The only downsides are its price and lack of accessories.
Orion Skyline 8″ Dobsonian
Rank 4
4.6/5
Other than the branding, altitude bearings, and accessories, the Skyline 8″ is the same scope as the AD8/Z8 and is made by GSO as well. Orion’s extreme price markup because of its brand name makes it the best pick only if the Apertura AD8 or Zhumell Z8 are unavailable. Otherwise, you’re paying the extra markup price just to get that Orion badge on your telescope.
Apertura DT8 Dobsonian
Rank 5
4.6/5
The DT8 is a nice scope, but it needs some extra accessories—or at least a high-magnification eyepiece—to unlock its full capabilities. It’s one of the best budget options, but do make your calculations if you intend to upgrade any accessories. In such a scenario, AD8/Z8 might be a clear winner.
Often out of stock. Choose AD8 or XT8 instead
Rank 6
4.5/5
The Orion XT8 is one of the cheaper 8″ Dobsonians on the market. It’s pretty bare with regards to accessories, but its low price and high-quality 2″ Crayford focuser make it a great buy – although it certainly needs some additional accessories.
Rank 7
4.4/5
The Sky-Watcher 8″ Classic comes with everything you need to get started at a low price, with a 9×50 finderscope and two eyepieces. However, its focuser and Dobsonian mount are not the most well-designed and can frustrate newcomers.
Rank 8
4.2/5
The FirstLight 8’s included accessories are abysmal, but the unique variation on the Dobsonian mounting and ultra-heavy-duty focuser allows 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

4.1/5
The 8” Flextube’s collapsible tube is nice for those needing the most compact 8″ dobsonian possible, but comes at the cost of a higher weight, more frequent collimation, and stray light issues. It also lacks the dual-speed focuser of some of its competitors(Z8, AD8, Skyline 8, XT8 Plus), which by itself is a $100 accessory.

8″ Computerized Dobsonians

Sky-Watcher 8″ Flextube SynScan Collapsible Dobsonian GoTo
4/5
The Skywatcher 8″ Collapsible GoTo 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 can even be controlled via your phone or tablet with the SynScan Pro app or SkySafari. The GoTo 8” Collapsible is more or less a regular 8” Collapsible with the SynScan system.

10″ Dobs

10′′ Dobsonians gather 56% more light compared to 8′′ Dobsonians and it 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.
Best Value
Apertura AD10 Dobsonian
Rank 1
4.9/5
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.
Best Value
Zhumell Z10 Dobsonian
Rank 2
4.9/5
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. Among the two(AD10 and Z10), AD10 would be the clear winner.
Celestron StarSense Explorer 10” Dobsonian
Rank 3
4.7/5
If your budget is big but you don’t want a 12”, the StarSense Explorer 10” Dobsonian is easily one of the best 10” scopes you could buy thanks to its lightweight base and the usefulness of the StarSense Explorer technology in finding deep-sky objects. However, be prepared to spend quite a few extra bucks on some accessories for your new scope.
Orion Skyline 10″ Dobsonian
Rank 4
4.6/5
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.
Orion SkyQuest XT10 Dobsonian
Rank 5
4.5/5
The Orion SkyQuest XT10 Classic has the same great performance as any 10″ Dobsonian, with a sturdy base and high-quality 2″ single-speed Crayford focuser. The mount is better designed than those of the Sky-Watcher Dobsonians, too. However, you don’t get a lot of accessories for the money. The AD10/Z10/SkyLine 10 are only a little more expensive and offer a lot more bang for your buck.
Rank 6
4.5/5
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.
Often out of stock. Choose AD10 instead.
Rank 7
4.4/5
Another more “bare-bones” entry, the Sky-Watcher 10” Classic comes with two eyepieces, a 9×50 finderscope, and a single-speed focuser.
Explore Scientific FirstLight 10″ Dobsonian
Rank 8
4.15/5
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. This means it doesn’t offer a ton of value for the money, though the collapsible base and rotating tube cradle are extremely handy features to have.

10″ Truss Tube Dobsonians

4.3/5
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
4/5
The 10” Flextube is not as compact as the Explore Scientific truss offering, but is much easier and quicker to assemble. It also comes with a nice 9×50 right-angle finderscope like the GSO Dobsonians.

10″ Computerized Dobsonians

Sky-Watcher 10″ Collapsible Dobsonian GoTo
4.1/5
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.

12″ Dobs

A 12′′ Dobsonian often takes serious consideration before purchasing. The sheer size and bulk of solid-tubed offerings necessitate either a strong user and a 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

Best Value
Apertura AD12 Dobsonian
Rank 1
4.8/5
The AD12’s massive tube requires a strong owner and a 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 a massive aperture and stunning views at a price that can’t be beat with the help of the best accessories in the class.
Rank 2
4.8/5
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.
Apertura DT12 Dobsonian
Rank 3
4.6/5
The budget pick for a 12” Dobsonian. While considerably less expensive than the AD12/Z12, the DT12, like its smaller cousins, lacks any of the bonus accessories, including a single 25mm eyepiece, a 50mm straight-through finder, and only a single-speed focuser.
Orion Skyline 12″ Dobsonian
Rank 4
4.5/5
The Skyline 12 is essentially identical to the Z12 and AD12 but at a much higher price. For even more money, you can also buy the Skyline 12 as a “kit” with a 2” UHC filter and some charts included.

12″ Truss Tube Dobsonians

Sky-Watcher 12″ Flextube Collapsible Dobsonian
Rank 1
4.5/5
While not the cheapest nor most well-accessorized on our list, with a 12” Dobsonian you’re beginning to almost require a truss tube due to the massive length and bulk of such an instrument-particularly if you plan to transport the scope and do not own a large vehicle. The SkyWatcher 12″ Flextube Collapsible is very easy to set up and transport.
Explore Scientific 12″ Truss Tube Dobsonian
Rank 2
4.3/5
Offering even more portability than the Skywatcher 12″ FlexTube Dobsonian, the ES 12” Truss Dobsonian can even fit in a passenger seat! However, assembly is a bit more complicated, and the scope needs quite a few DIY modifications and upgrades—as well as some better accessories—to work at its best.

12″ Computerized Dobsonians

Sky-Watcher 12″ Flextube Dobsonian GoTo
Rank 1
4.3/5
The 12” Flextube isn’t as compact as a true truss model, but for many people, the collapsible tube is all you need to fit it into a vehicle or storage space. Setting up the GoTo 12” Flextube is almost identical to the manual version; the scope can still be used manually, and there isn’t much of a price difference.
Rank 2
4.2/5
The XX12i functions similarly to the Explore Scientific 12″ Truss Tube but features Orion’s Intelliscope Push-To system like the smaller XTi scopes in Orion’s catalog.