Ranking 35 Reflector Telescopes Excluding Dobsonians

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A dobsonain reflector telescope will be far superior in value to the non-dobsonian reflectors at any given price point. We already have a Dobsonian Telescope Ranking Page, where the majority of the listed dobsonian telescopes use Newtonian Reflector optics. To simplify the rankings and for those who can’t get a Dobsonian (we can’t think of many reasons for doing so!), we’re releasing a Reflector Telescope rankings list of 38 reflector telescopes that exclude the Dobsonian Reflector Telescopes.
$150
$200
$300
$400
$700
$1000+

$75 range

Orion SpaceProbe II 76 Altazimuth
Rank 1
2.7/5
Not Recommended
Zhumell 76 AZ
Rank 2
2.4/5
Not Recommended

~$150 range

Orion SpaceProbe II 76 EQ
Rank 1
3.9/5
The SpaceProbe II 76 EQ lacks aperture, but it’s easy to use and the views of the Moon and planets are sharper and brighter than those through low-quality cheap refractors. The included mount and accessories are plenty good to get started with, too.
Rank 2
3.1/5
The AstroMaster 76EQ has significantly less light-gathering ability than even a 70mm refractor but offers potentially the sharpest images of any of the scopes in its price range on a relatively sturdy mount.
Celestron AstroMaster LT 76AZ
Rank 3
2.7/5
Not Recommended
Celestron PowerSeeker 114 AZ
Rank 4
2.3/5
Not Recommended
Celestron PowerSeeker 114 EQ
Rank 5
2.3/5
Not Recommended
Celestron ExploraScope 114AZ
Rank 6
1.8/5
Not Recommended

~$200 range

Rank 1
4.1/5
The Orion StarBlast is essentially identical to the Zhumell Z114 optically, but on a different mounting. The StarBlast II version is perched atop a rather spindly EQ-1 equatorial mount. While there is a bit of a learning curve to using the EQ-1, you’re rewarded with a full-sized tripod, equatorial movements, and the ability to upgrade to motorized tracking later on.
Explore One Aurora 114
Rank 2
3.8/5
The Explore One Aurora 114 is marketed mainly towards kids, but makes for a surprisingly good scope for adults too—the optical tube is identical to the Zhumell Z114’s, the full-sized mount/tripod has slow-motion controls, and the included eyepieces are quite good. However, the Aurora’s red-dot finder is very poorly made, and overall, the scope has a relatively cheap feel to its construction.
Celestron Cometron 114AZ
Rank 3
3.7/5
The Cometron 114AZ is simply a Z114/StarBlast optical tube perched atop a glorified photo tripod. While stable and, of course, quite capable of delivering sharp images, the lack of fine adjustment capability and the jerky motions of the mount make for a rather frustrating user experience out of the box.
Orion Observer 114mm
Rank 4
3/5
The Observer 114mm is essentially just a cheapened StarBlast II with lower quality fittings and seemingly worse quality assurance. When the StarBlast II is a known quantity with a minuscule difference in price, this doesn’t strike us as a worthwhile gamble.
StarSense Explorer LT 114AZ
Rank 5
2.4/5
Not Recommended
Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ
Rank 6
1.3/5
Not Recommended

$250-$350 range

Rank 1
3.9/5
The SpaceProbe 130ST is just a Z130/Heritage (our $200 pick) optical tube placed atop an EQ-2 equatorial mount, and includes high-quality Sirius Plossl eyepieces. While perhaps not the largest nor most advanced scope in its price range, the 130ST is a great platform for beginners and can be easily upgraded to motorized, hands-free tracking later on.
Gskyer Telescope 130EQ Reflector
Rank 2
3.9/5
The lack of a well-known brand may be off-putting to some, but the GSKYER 130mm EQ features a tremendously nice 1.25” all-metal Crayford focuser, the optics are just as good as the other 130mm f/5s on the market, and the included (though mislabeled) set of three 1.25” Kellner eyepieces isn’t bad either. The scope’s equatorial mount is not the steadiest, however, especially compared to a good Dobsonian.
Explore Scientific FirstLight 114 EQ3 Reflector
Rank 3
3.1/5
The FirstLight 114mm EQ3 is a fine scope, but the included accessories are low-quality and the price tag is quite high for what you get. Consider the Orion StarBlast II or Zhumell Z114 instead.
Explore Scientific FirstLight 114 Twilight Nano Reflector
Rank 4
3.1/5
The FirstLight 114mm Twilight Nano features a full-sized alt-azimuth mount and tripod—but why? A Dobsonian is cheaper, more stable, and easier to aim, while an equatorial mount is more versatile. As with all of the FirstLight scopes, you’re not getting a good deal on the provided accessories, either; they’re basically decorations.
Orion Observer 134mm Reflector
Rank 5
3/5
The Observer 134mm’s questionable optical quality, cheap cast fittings, low-quality finderscope, and the vignetting caused by its comically tall focuser pretty much ruin any consideration of it being viewed as a quality telescope. The price tag isn’t a hoot, either.
Solomark Polaris 130EQ Reflector
Rank 6
2.7/5
The Polaris 130EQ is essentially a cheapened version of the SpaceProbe 130ST, with a Moon filter and Barlow lens included on top of the (mediocre) 25mm and 10mm eyepieces, and a slightly lower quality 6×30 finderscope compared to the 130ST’s.
Celestron AstroMaster 130 EQ MD
Rank 7
2.4/5
Not Recommended
Celestron AstroMaster 130 EQ
Rank 8
2.4/5
Not Recommended
Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQ
Rank 9
1.7/5
Not Recommended

~$350-$500 range

Rank 1
4/5
The StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ uses the same optical tube as the Astro-Fi 130 and other 130mm f/5 telescopes, but is mounted atop Celestron’s StarSense Explorer mount, which assists in locating targets with your smartphone. However, the Astro-Fi 130 is similar in price and offers full tracking and GoTo, which is vastly preferable to the simple Push-To system of the DX 130AZ.
Explore Scientific FirstLight 130mm EQ3 Reflector
Rank 2
3.3/5
The FirstLight 130mm Newtonian is undermounted, the secondary mirror is undersized, stopping it down to around 120mm, and the included accessories are not very good. We’d steer clear—the 130mm equatorial scopes from Orion and GSKYER are much nicer, and a Dobsonian is better still.
Celestron 114 LCM
Rank 3
1.9/5
Not Recommended

~$500 – $800 range

Rank 1
4.1/5
The Astro-Fi 130 is optically identical to the 130ST and Z130, but sports a 2” plastic rack-and-pinion focuser. The Astro-Fi’s fully computerized GoTo mount is controlled by your phone or tablet, and will automatically slew to and track almost any object you choose. However, the scope is a bit of a battery guzzler and the free SkyPortal app is lacking – for optimal use, you’ll need a rechargeable power supply and a copy of SkySafari Pro, both of which increase the price of this gizmo by quite a bit.
Rank 2
4/5
The Omni XLT 150 Reflector’s f/5 focal ratio and 750mm focal length provide a wider field of view than the 6” f/8 Dobsonians we’ve listed, bolstered further by the XLT’s 2” focuser. The scope’s equatorial mount can also be motorized later on for automatic tracking.
Rank 3
3.6/5
The AstroView 6 is functionally nearly identical to the Omni XLT 150 EQ, albeit with a slightly different accessory package and a rather unsteady and unappealing mount. We’d recommend you avoid this scope; the optics and accessories are nice, but it’s prone to jiggling and you might accidentally topple it over trying to aim it anywhere in the sky.
Explore FirstLight 130mm Newtonian Twilight I Mount
Rank 4
3.4/5
This scope is a bit unusual, with a taller-than-necessary focuser and a very nice (albeit probably overkill) mount. While indeed quite decent, the lack of decent accessories provided with the FirstLight 130mm, combined with its small aperture, means that its overall value for the money is debatable.
Rank 5
3.3/5
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.
Celestron SkyProdigy 130 Reflector
Rank 6
3/5
Not Recommended

~$1000 – $3000

Meade 6″ f/4.1 LX85 Astrograph Reflector Telescope
Rank 1
4.4/5
The Meade 6” f/4.11 LX85 Astrograph is a great kit for the beginner deep-sky astrophotographer. There are better mounts available for sure, and such a fast imaging Newtonian needs a coma corrector to provide good photos, but it makes for a great package, and the price is quite attractive too.
Meade 8″ f/4 LX85 Astrograph Reflector Telescope
Rank 2
4.1/5
If you really want a scope that’s good for both visual and imaging use, there are worse options than the 8” f/4 LX85 Astrograph. It’s a great scope for wide-field views of deep-sky objects. You can do some deep-sky imaging with it, and with a strong Barlow lens, you can also image the Moon and planets pretty well.
Meade 6″ f/10 LX85 ACF Telescope with Mount and Tripod
Rank 3
3.9/5
The 6” f/10 LX85 ACF is essentially a much more expensive twin of the Celestron 6” Advanced VX SCT kit, but without the ability to use a HyperStar to shoot at f/2 and a heavier scope less suited for any kind of imaging, all at a higher price. It’s not bad, but not a great deal either.
Meade 8″ f/10 LX85 ACF Telescope with Mount and Tripod
Rank 4
3.9/5
Similarly to the 6” f/10 ACF package, the Meade 8” f/10 ACF has serious drawbacks compared to offerings from Celestron, but without nearly as much versatility or overall value. Again, it’s not a bad scope, but not a good price for what you get compared to other options.
Celestron Advanced VX Series 6″ Newtonian
Rank 5
3.7/5
The 6” Advanced VX Newtonian is easier to get the hang of using—especially for astrophotography—than even its 8” model, due to its lighter weight and shorter tube, but lacks the 2” focuser of the 8” model (which is more suitable for fitting a camera to) or as much aperture for visual astronomy.
Celestron Advanced VX Series 8″ Newtonian GoTo
Rank 6
3.5/5
The Advanced VX 8” could be an acceptable platform for learning astrophotography, but it is quite a complicated rig to set up and assemble, and arguably overkill for visual use. The 8” optical tube is also pushing the limits of the mount’s capabilities, and thus it can be a bit frustrating to get consistently sharp results with long exposures.