Best Dobsonian Telescope

Best Dobsonian Telescope

Buying yourself a Dobsonian telescope is typically the best way to get into astronomy if you’re a beginner or even if you’re an enthusiastic amateur that’s been stargazing for a while. There’s a reason I say this, and it’s because you’ll get so much more value for your money. The Dobsonian design works tremendously well.

Assuming you agree with me, the next step is choosing the best Dobsonian telescope for the money you have available. But how do you go about getting this step correct? This guide will greatly help you because we have reviewed many Dobsonian telescopes and narrowed the choice down to the three best Dobsonian telescopes for top quality brands, value, and price.

Best Dobsonian Telescope

Our Top 3 Best Dobsonian Telescopes For Your Budget

1. Orion SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope Kit – Best Budget Dobsonian Telescope

Orion SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope Kit
Image credit: Orion

For beginners, the Orion SkyQuest XT6 is an excellent telescope to begin your progression into amateur astronomy. It’s within the right price band, and Orion offers the scope with a mixed assortment of accessories.

Telescopes don’t necessarily come easier to use than the XT6, and frankly, that’s great for beginners because there’s nothing worse when starting on a new hobby and struggling to master the equipment.

The beauty of Dobsonian telescopes is the aperture size, so even though we class the XT6 as a budget option, which it is, you still get a massive 6″ primary aperture.

 If you compare the XT6 to a comparably priced 4.5″ reflector, you get a lot more light gathering ability for the additional 1.5 inches. Plus, with a 6-inch aperture, you’re able to view deep objects.

With a focal ratio of f/8, the XT6 strikes a decent balance between being wide enough to capture sharp, deep space objects yet the aperture is wide enough to capture narrow views of objects closer to the Earth, such as our moon.

The telescope and mount weigh just over 34 pounds; however, the whole thing breaks down quickly, and you won’t have to lug around the entire 34 pounds in one go. The scope weighs around 20 pounds and is 45″ in length, so it’s pretty portable for a Dobsonian. But that’s only significant if you enjoy being on the move and want to visit different locations.

The list of accessories Orion pack with the telescope is impressive. It includes a 25mm eyepiece, 2 x Barlow Lens, EZ Finder 11 reflex sight, base assembly, collimation cap, dust cap, Orion Star Target planisphere, Orion MoonMap 260, Starry Night SE astronomy software, and an Orion ReBeam Mini LED keychain flashlight.

Key Features:

  • 6″ aperture optics
  • 150mm and 1200mm focal length
  • 45-inch enameled-steel optical tube
  • Useful additional accessories
  • 1.25″ rack-and-pinion focuser
  • Weight fully assembled 34.4lbs
  • Focal ratio f/8
  • Highest magnification 300x

2. Sky-Watcher Classic 250 Dobsonian 10-inch Aperature Telescope – Best Medium Budget Dobsonian Telescope

Sky-Watcher Classic 250 Dobsonian 10-inch Aperature Telescope
Image credit: Sky Watcher

Pretty much all Dobsonian telescopes tend to be a drab black color with not too much in the looks department. Yes, I know, as long as they offer excellent viewing, the outside appearance is secondary. But it’s refreshing to recommend a telescope with stunning good looks and providing such brilliant views as the wonders of our galaxy.  The SkyWatcher S11620 10″ is all white except for the black accents; it’s a beautiful-looking piece of equipment.

But, let’s talk about how the telescope performs and is it as good as it looks? I can tell you without any hesitation it offers incredible performance.

The first thing you’ll notice when you open the box is the telescope’s size. If this is your first scope or you’re only used to 4″ apertures, frankly, you will be shocked at the size. The primary aperture on the 250 is a massive 10 inches, and the amount of light you’ll gather with this is astonishing . Without any doubt, you’ll be viewing those deep space objects you’ve been dreaming about forever; the Orion Nebula and the Andromeda Galaxy, just to name a couple, will look spectacular.

Without premium quality mirrors, it doesn’t matter the size of the aperture and how much light it gathers. No worries about that with this telescope, however. The SkyWatcher mirrors are 94% reflective, and the mirrors have fully multi-coated borosilicate on both primary and secondary.

How does this affect the mirrors?

Should the reflective qualities of the mirror fade over time, it will severely affect the light-gathering capabilities of the telescope. If this were to happen, faint deep sky objects would be impossible to see because the telescope would not collect enough light in effect rendering the telescope less than fit for purpose. The coating on the mirror prevents this from occurring, thereby preserving the scope’s light-gathering ability.

The Sky-Watcher is a giant telescope and heavy, so the mount is crucial. Sky-Watcher has installed proprietary Teflon bearings to ensure the telescope’s azimuth movements are as smooth as silk. You will be able to Control the telescope very easily with no jarring movements or loss of focus while adjusting to the objects you are viewing.

The patented tension control handle provides effortless control when you need precise aiming, and slewing further aid your telescope control.

Sky-Watcher has put some serious thought into the design of this medium-priced telescope, and this attention to detail extends to the accessories bundled with the telescope. Accessories include a finderscope, two 1.25-inch eyepieces (10mm and 25mm), and a 2-inch to 1.25-inch adapter.

The Sky-Watcher is an exceptional middle-budget telescope with impressive light-gathering capabilities. If you’re looking to jump into astronomy in this middle price range, you won’t find a better telescope.

Key Features:

  • 10-inch Dobsonian telescope
  • Optics with 94% reflectivity
  • Patented tension control handle
  • Teflon bearings
  • Complete with accessories
  • Weight assembled 53 pounds

3. Sky-Watcher Flextube 300 SynScan Dobsonian – Best Big Budget Dobsonian Telescope

Sky-Watcher Flextube 300 SynScan Dobsonian
Image credit: Sky Watcher

The Sky-Watcher Flextube 300 Dob is a serious telescope, and typically the only people buying such scopes are amateur astronomers that take their hobby earnestly. But that’s okay if this is you and you’re in search of real deep sky viewing with some very high spec resolution; the Flextube 300 has you covered.

If you’ve been viewing the night sky for a while with smaller apertures, I think you’re going to be shocked when you get hold of this 12-inch Dobsonian.

Everything you view will appear more expansive, more profound, and much brighter, especially objects you might have been viewing for a long time and probably straining to view anything significant.

Objects just on the limit of a 10-inch aperture will suddenly look a lot more exciting, and you’ll want to be spending time viewing those.

Let’s talk about the specifications of the telescope. Needless to say, this is a large aperture telescope with an innovative collapsible optical tube. Even transporting the tube to different locations will not affect collimation; of course, collapsing the tube helps considerably with portability.

The beauty of this telescope is the ease of assembly; even a child could put this together. Yes, the scope is heavy; the whole assembly weighs over 90lbs; however, the base takes up 50lbs of that weight.

The telescope moves via DC servo motors using all-metal gearing. You control the computerized GoTo mount with the hand controller to point the telescope where you want at specific objects or simply take a tour of the night sky. Or, you don’t even need the hand controller because the telescope has built-in WiFi. Connect your smartphone to the scope.

Sky-Watcher’s SynScan technology provides the user with access to more than 42,000-night sky objects, literally at the press of a button.

SynScan Dobs produce a 94% reflectivity rating thanks to their superior-quality parabolic borosilicate mirror with quartz overcoat; there’s minimal vignetting with vivid contrast.

GoTo Dobsonians include a 2” Crayford-style focuser, two 1.25” eyepieces (10mm and 25mm), and a 2-inch to 1.25inch adapter.

Key Features:

  • Innovative collapsible optical tube
  • 12-inch (305mm) aperture
  • All-metal gearing
  • DC servo motors
  • Built-in WiFi
  • 94% reflective mirrors
  • 42,000+ object database
  • Full accessories
  • Robust build quality
  • Battery-powered
  • Alt-Alt Mount

Your First Telescope Should Be Dobsonian: Here’s Why

If this is your first venture into astronomy, we advise you to buy a Dobsonian for two reasons:

1. Dobsonians are the most affordable option. You will get a lot more telescope for your money; for example, with a $500 budget, a 6-inch Dobsonian is within reach. The larger the aperture, the more light telescopes can gather, which means the viewing experience is brilliant.

Once you’ve got over the thrill of seeing our moon, Saturn’s rings, and the moons of Jupiter, you can turn your attention to more deep-sky objects, such as the Orion nebula and the Pleiades star cluster. All fascinating stuff for a new astronomer; the massive variety of objects you can view with wider apertures will only whet your appetite for more.

2. Getting set up and transporting telescopes to different locations is the bane of the amateur astronomer, which is why Dobsonians are the best choice because they are straightforward to set up. The base and optical tube are separate parts making portability that much easier.

Place the base on the ground and attach the tube, and that’s it basically, which would you rather spend your time doing-finding objects in the night sky or fiddling around trying to fit your telescope together.

Just on a side note, Dobs are not just for beginners. Many serious amateur astronomers use Dobsonians. They might have progressed to much wider apertures and use 10 to 12-inch telescopes, but nevertheless, they are Dobsonians.