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Zhumell Z114 Telescope Review: Recommended Scope

The Zhumell Z114 is one of our favorite beginner telescopes. It has little in the way of compromises in its optics or mechanical quality.
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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.

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Score Breakdown

Optics: 4/5

Focuser: 3/5

Mount: 4/5

Moon & Planets: 3/5

Rich Field: 5/5

Accessories: 3/5

Ease of use: 5/5

Portability: 5/5

Value: 5/5

Read our scoring methodology here

The Zhumell Z114 may not be as well-known as some other beginner telescopes. But it can actually trace its heritage back to the 1970s in the form of the Edmund Astroscan, a much-loved tabletop 105mm f/4 telescope with similar specs, if perhaps slightly worse performance than today’s 114mm f/3.9 instruments like the Z114. The Astroscan was undermined by the Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro in the early 2000s, and the Z114 is more or less an identical copy of the Orion StarBlast Astro. Both are excellent beginner telescopes and also serve as a nice “grab n’ go” wide-field complement to a bigger and bulkier instrument if you already own a larger telescope. 

Although I consider the Z114 a small telescope, it’s remarkable for its size, especially when considering how many beginners have started with half its size 60mm refractors. It can be carried with one hand and fits in a backpack or the trunk of a convertible. As someone who has used the Z114, I know it can show most of the Messier catalog, the shadow transits of Jupiter’s moons, details on Mars, and even the Cassini Division in Saturn’s rings.

Zhumell Z114

How It Stacks Up





Zhumell Z114


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Best Similar Featured Alternative: Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro

What We Like

  • Great value
  • Great optics
  • Decent accessories
  • Convenient to set up and use

What We Don't Like

  • Included eyepieces are not the best for this telescope
  • Needs a table
  • Good planetary views require additional purchases of eyepieces
  • No Vixen dovetail 
TelescopicWatch Editor's Choice

The Zhumell Z114 is essentially a shrunken version of everything we like about Zhumell’s larger Dobsonians and makes for a great beginner telescope or a “grab n’ go” instrument.

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Zhumell Z114, these days, is almost like an Amazon exclusive, though HighPointScientific lists them occasionally.

All major parts of Z114 marked on my telescope stored in my basement
Image 1: Zhumell Z114’s major parts marked on my telescope. Image: Zane Landers

Zhumell Z114’s Optical Tube

The Zhumell Z114’s optical tube is a 114mm f/3.9 Newtonian reflector with a focal length of 450mm.

An f/3.9 focal ratio telescope does have a fair amount of coma. But I chose to ignore it with this instrument as a 1.25” coma corrector does not currently exist and would cost more than the Z114 itself in any case. The good news is that coma is only an issue with the widest possible fields of view and the lowest magnifications. When viewing many targets, you’ll tend to want to use more medium magnification anyway.

Primary and secondary mirror of Z114, a view from inside the optical tube
View from the inside of Z114’s optical tube. ©Telescopic Watch

Z114, unlike Zhumell’s own Z100 and most smaller 100mm instruments, can be easily collimated and comes with a parabolic primary mirror that has undergone at least some quality control. So it has no trouble providing sharp images of the Moon, planets, and double stars.

Buy Z114 from Amazon

The Zhumell Z114’s focuser (see Image 1 above) is a 1.25” rack-and-pinion unit made mostly of plastic, which works fine. Some units may have a bit of wobble when focusing. I’d fix the wobbling with a strategic placement of tape strips on the focuser’s drawtube and the addition of quality grease/lubricant to the teeth.

The Z114’s optical tube attaches to the mount with a clamshell (see Image 1 above) that allows you to rotate and slide the tube for balance and convenient positioning of the finder and eyepiece. For mounting the Z114 on a full-sized mount or tripod, you’ll need tube rings and a Vixen-style dovetail.

Accessories supplied with Z114

The Zhumell Z114 includes two 1.25” Kellner eyepieces: a 17mm unit providing 24x and a 10mm unit providing 45x.

These are acceptable-quality eyepieces. But neither has a rubber eyeguard, and the 17mm shows some edge-of-field aberrations, while the 10mm is rather uncomfortable to look through.

The good news is that any quality telescope like the Z114 will allow me to interchange any 1.25” eyepieces I’d like, and the included ones are adequate enough to get started. Few beginner telescopes come with eyepieces that I’d call anything other than adequate anyway, and the Z114 costs less than some individual high-quality oculars do by themselves.

Zhumell Z114's red dot finderscope in action
A red dot finderscope is provided with the Z114. ©Telescopic Watch

For aiming the Z114, a red dot finder is provided, which easily lines up with the telescope. Thanks to the huge field of view at low power with the Z114, anyone can easily get used to finding deep-sky objects just by roughly aiming the red dot finder and sweeping around for a bit at the eyepiece to locate their target. 

There’s no collimation cap included with the Z114, so you’ll have to buy one or make your own out of a film canister. Check out my collimation guide to learn more about collimation and how you can easily collimate your Z114.

The Tabletop Dobsonian Mount

The Z114’s mount is a single-armed tabletop “Dobsonian” mount.

What constitutes a Dobsonian and the exact nomenclature is a bit of a hot topic these days. Z114’s altitude bearing is a ball bearing and a nut/bolt that doesn’t really use gravity to its advantage the way a true Dobsonian does.

It moves from side to side, riding on three small plastic pads.

You can adjust the friction on the altitude axis just by tightening the large plastic nut (see Image 1), while the azimuth axis tightness requires two wrenches or pairs of pliers (or a socket wrench). 

The Z114 is designed to be used on a tabletop surface, but there are other options. It can’t fit on a photo tripod like a smaller instrument, but a variety of other options will suffice, such as a milk crate, a barrel, a bar stool, the hood of a car, or an easily homemade wooden stand.

Should I buy a used Zhumell Z114?

A used Zhumell Z114 reflector is a great scope. These telescopes haven’t been around for very long, so it’s unlikely you’ll find one with the mirror coatings in poor condition.

A Z114 with damaged mirrors is simply not worth buying, because recoating them costs more than an entire new telescope.

Missing eyepieces or a missing finder, however, are less of a problem. Though again, make sure you don’t wind up spending more on replacing those than a new instrument would cost.

Alternative Recommendations

Besides the Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro, which is essentially an identical twin of the Z114, you may want to go for a slightly bigger or smaller instrument depending on your budget. Here are a few other tabletop Dobsonians we’ve picked for you:

  • The Sky-Watcher Heritage 150P offers significantly more light gathering and resolving power than the Z114 thanks to its larger 150mm aperture, while its tabletop Dobsonian mount is equally easy to use and the collapsible tube maximizes portability.
  • The Sky-Watcher Heritage 130P’s mere 16mm increase in aperture might not sound like much, but it translates to a significant increase in light-gathering and resolving power over the Zhumell Z114 while costing only a bit more; the collapsible tube means the two scopes are basically the same volume when stored.

Aftermarket Accessory Recommendations

The Zhumell Z114 is cheap enough that we wouldn’t recommend going overboard on accessories – you could just buy a bigger scope! The main thing we’d recommend is a 6mm “gold-line” eyepiece. It’ll give you 75x with the Z114, which is more appropriate for viewing the Moon and planets. A 2x Barlow lens coupled with the 6mm provides 150x, which is nearing the limit of what this scope is capable of. 

Other accessories will definitely make your viewing experience better, like perhaps a UHC nebula filter or a better low-power eyepiece, but any one of these nicer accessories is nearing half the cost of the Z114 by itself. So if your budget is bigger, we’d just recommend going for a larger scope from Zhumell if you like what you see here.

What can you see with Zhumell Z114?

I’ve found that the wide field of view of the Zhumell Z114 makes it a great instrument for low-power sweeping and finding my way around the sky. You’ll have no trouble locating dozens of exciting open clusters and many of the bright emission nebulae, such as Orion, the Lagoon, and the Swan. Under a dark sky and/or with a nebula filter, you can also spot the Rosette and Veil, two huge nebulae that span across the entire field of view at low magnification. Under a typical suburban sky, Andromeda and a few dozen of the brightest spiral and elliptical galaxies can be seen, but with little detail. Pop the Z114 into the trunk and, under dark skies, you’ll have no trouble spotting Andromeda’s dust lanes, M33’s spiral arms, and features in brighter galaxies like M81, M82, and NGC 7331. M51’s spiral arms are even just barely visible, but they’re too small to clearly resolve, and cranking up the magnification will dim the galaxy to near-invisibility.

Globular star clusters are unfortunately beyond the limit of the Z114’s light-gathering and resolution abilities to see as anything more than fuzzy dots, but you can still go after many double stars and, of course, open clusters. 

The Z114’s sharp optics also make it a surprisingly good lunar and planetary instrument. While it is an f/3.9 “light bucket” and collimating it well enough to get perfectly crisp views takes a while, the Z114 will have no trouble delivering views just as sharp and detailed as a high-end small refractor, at a fraction of the price and with better deep-sky views to boot. You’ll have no trouble spotting the phases of Venus and Mercury, tiny craters and mountains on the Moon, and the ice caps on Mars. During the few months biannually that Mars is particularly close to Earth-what’s termed opposition by most astronomers-a few dark markings are visible on the Red Planet on a crisp and steady night, and with careful observing techniques, its outer moon Deimos can even be spotted at favorable times. Jupiter’s cloud belts are easy to see, as are the darker polar regions; the Great Red Spot, which is slowly shrinking and may or may not be red, is a bit more challenging, as are the tiny disks and shadows of its 4 large moons when they transit. Saturn’s rings are, of course, quite obvious even at low power, with the Cassini Division being resolvable most of the time. You may also be able to see a few of its moons and some pale, low-contrast cloud bands on the planet itself. Uranus and Neptune are tiny dots, nearly indistinguishable from stars at low power, and with moons too faint to see-just finding the two planets can be somewhat challenging.

Aperture:4.5" (114mm)
Optical Design:Newtonian Reflector
Mount Design:Tabletop altitude-azimuth/Dobsonian
Focal Length:465mm
Focal Ratio:f/4
Fully Assembled Weight:11 lbs
Warranty:Zhumell 2 years

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.

3 thoughts on “Zhumell Z114 Telescope Review: Recommended Scope”

  1. I got mine and within 3 hours it was back in the box on its way back to Amazon. The focuser was so loose it felt like it was going to fall off the telescope if you tried to focus out too far. I’m sorry I don’t think a telescope should need tape in order for it to work properly right out of the box. In my opinion it was the worst $240 I’ve ever spent. Horrible.


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