Best Telescopes for Kids, Our Top Five Stargazing Models Reviewed

When you’re a kid, and often as an adult, there’s little that’s more wondrous than the night sky. And you can work on that spark of awe and wonder and help them develop a real interest in stargazing and astronomy.

But as with any other hobby worth the time and effort, it pays to have the right equipment. And when it comes to telescopes for kids, that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be the most powerful telescope out there, but rather it should focus (pun intended!) more on ease of use and value for money.

There are some great telescopes for kids out on the market at the moment, and the good news is that we’ve been going through them on your behalf, to see which ones are best for kids. After much deliberation, we came up with our top 5 picks, which we can’t wait to show you.

But we get that picking out a telescope for kids can be tricky, which is why we’ve also got a buying guide for you. This buying guide will walk you through everything that you might want to think about before you buy.

Then we’re going to top that off with another handy section where we answer some of your most frequently asked questions on the subject of buying telescopes for kids.

Just to give you a heads up, most telescopes aimed at kids are great for looking at constellations and the moon, but you can’t use them to examine far away planets.

So, without further ado, let’s show you some great telescopes!

OUR TOP PICK

What we love the most about this telescope, is that it comes as an entire beginner’s astronomy kit.

In addition to the telescope, tripod, and sundries, your child also gets a star and lunar chart, a compass, a fun activity guide, and some glow in the dark stickers for their bedroom.

With these extras, you can keep the kids busy for hours, even when the sky is clouded over!

The telescope itself has a 66mm aperture size, and a magnification of power of 66x. This means that not only will your child be able to make out all the various constellations, but when they focus on the moon, they can actually make out different moon craters.

This telescope also has a finderscope, which sits above the telescope, much like a telescope, but with a much larger field of view. You can use the finderscope to look for where you want to aim the telescope.

It also has two interchangeable eyepieces, with magnification powers of 12x and 6x respectively. 

It’s very easy to set up, no tools are required, the instructions are easy to understand, and an older kid, of say 10 and up, could manage it by themselves.

And learning to use the telescope is pretty straightforward too, especially if the kid watches the short video on the Amazon page which explains how to get images into focus.

We love that it’s lightweight and portable. But better yet is the rugged but eco-friendly protective carry case, which will keep the tech safe even with the most heavy-handed of kids. Great for taking camping!

It’s a best seller with online retailers and customer feedback has been really positive so far.

Amazon occasionally has deals on this telescope kit - worth a look. It’s great value for money even without catching a deal though.

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Fun educational materials!
  • 2 interchangeable eyepieces
  • Protective carry case
  • Lightweight & portable

Cons

  • Tripod is a tabletop tripod only and does not extend out to be used standing up

EDITORS CHOICE

If you have a little more money to spend, and you know you can trust your child with more expensive equipment, then this one is certainly worth a look!

It has a 70mm aperture size and is made with fully coated optical glass. Together this means that you get plenty of light through the objective lens, and you get very crisp and clear images through.

It offers high magnification, and this magnification can be boosted further still, by using the included 3x Barlow lens, or the bigger focus eyepieces, which offer a whopping 51x and 128x magnification.

One thing we love about this telescope is the inclusion of a finder scope. The finder scope sits above the telescope, much like a telescope, but with a much larger field of view. You can use the finderscope to look for where you want to aim the telescope.

There’s a handy video on the Amazon page which shows you how to set up the tripod. And the tripod can be set to different heights to best match the height of the child. Once the telescope is mounted to the tripod you can turn the telescope to any angle you like.

Although it’s a little expensive for a lunar telescope, it still comes under $100, and we would argue that gives great value for money. But still, for this price, we’d only trust older kids to take care of it.

It’s a best seller with online retailers and customer feedback has been very positive on the whole.

We also like that the manufacturer offers lifetime VIP customer service.

Pros

  • A bestselling telescope
  • Good value for money
  • Includes a finder scope
  • Additional eyepieces
  • Plenty of magnification

Cons

  • Not a good choice for young kids, better for older kids

BEST VALUE

By far the easiest way to get kids and beginners into astronomy is to start with a lunar telescope.

Lunar scopes can show you not just the constellations in the night sky, but you can also make out the craters in the moon.

Moreover, lunar telescopes are much more affordable than other types of telescopes. 

This telescope has a magnification power of 90x, and you can boost this further still by using the included 1.5x erecting eyepiece.

It features high-quality optics, and i’s easy to mount on the included tripod, from which it can be moved both vertically and horizontally. 

It’s a durable telescope and is built to last. And it’s designed to be portable - it weighs less than 1 kg, so it’s ideal for taking away on a camping trip.

But it’s not just for looking at the moon, you can also use it during the day to look at landmarks and wildlife.

It’s a great choice for kids under, say, 8 years of age. But older kids may also enjoy it if they’ve never used a telescope before.

It’s a best seller with online retailers and has been met with plenty of positive customer feedback.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Very easy to use
  • Great views of the moon
  • Durable & built to last
  • Portable - great for camping

Cons

  • You can’t use it to view the planets

RUNNER UP

This is another great telescope for the money, ticking all the main boxes.

It has a 50mm aperture size, combined with a long focal length. This means you get plenty of light coming through for crisp and clear images, and you get plenty of magnification power too.

It’s very easy to put together, installation just takes 5 simple steps. It only takes 3 minutes and no tools are required. It’s all laid out for you on the Amazon page if you want to check it over. 

Once in place on the tabletop tripod, the telescope can move up to 360 degrees around the center and up to 90 degrees in an upward-downward direction.

This telescope also has a finderscope, which sits above the telescope, much like a telescope, but with a much larger field of view. You can use the finderscope to look for where you want to aim the telescope.

It’s lightweight enough to take on camping trips, where you might get a better view of the night sky.

It’s a best seller with online retailers and customer feedback has been really positive.

Pros

  • Good value for money
  • Includes finderscope
  • Allows plenty of movement
  • Lightweight & portable

Cons

  • No additional eyepieces included
  • Tripod is a tabletop tripod only and does not extend out to be used standing up

RUNNER UP

One thing we love about this telescope is the bargain price - no wonder it’s a bestseller!

It’s a very simple telescope, with a tabletop tripod, aimed at younger kids of ages of about 4, 5, and 6. It’s super easy to both set-up and to use. 

Installation takes just 3 minutes flat. All you have to do is open the tripod, screw the telescope on, and you‘re ready to align the telescope to your chosen target. Your child could do it completely independently and you won’t need to lift a finger.

Once set up, the telescope can rotate 360 degrees around the tripos, and once aligned to a chosen target, the child can then adjust the clarity of the picture by turning the focus knobs to adjust the focal length.

It has an aperture size of a large 60mm, to let plenty of light in for a crisp and clear image. 

It also comes with 3 interchangeable eyepieces, to increase the telescope’s magnification to 20x, 30x, and 40x respectively. And because of these small parts, it’s not recommended for children under 3 years old.

It’s also reassuring to learn that there’s a 3-year after-sales service if you should ever need it. 

There’s no finderscope included, but at this price, that’s to be expected.

It’s a best seller with online retailers and customer feedback has been quite positive.

Pros

  • Bargain price
  • Incredibly easy to set up
  • Great for younger kids
  • 360-degree rotation on tripod
  • 3 interchangeable eyepieces

Cons

  • No finderscope
  • Tripod is a tabletop tripod only and does not extend out to be used standing up

Best Telescopes for Kids Buying Guide

As promised, here’s your buying guide! Let’s get down to it.

Why it’s worth buying a separate telescope for your child

If you’re a seasoned astronomer with a complex telescope, your child may not be ready to start at your level.

However, they may still like to follow in your footsteps, and moreover, they may like to feel trusted with their very own telescope.

Start them off in the right way, and they’ll soon become budding astronomers.

But if your child doesn’t take to astronomy as much as you do, you could always use their telescope as a portable telescope to take on holidays.

The trick to buying the best telescope for a kid

Match of Size and Complexity

Buying a telescope for a kid is quite different from buying a telescope for a seasoned adult stargazer.

The most important thing to ensure is that you match the size and complexity of the scope to the age and capability of the child. What would make a great telescope for an infant may not have the same appeal to a teenager and vice versa.

Kid’s Attention Span & Telescope’s Ease of Use

You also have to consider the attention span of the child, and whether or not they will have sufficient patience to set up the telescope themselves, or as quite frequently is the case, whether they’d appreciate some help with that side of things. 

They may find this part of the stargazing frustrating or boring, and maintaining their interest in the night sky is best done by appealing to their need for instant gratification.

Or if they are interested in setting up and aiming the telescope, it should still be as easy to install and as easy to use as possible.

We included many easy to set-up telescopes in our top 5 picks, these are our number 1 pick, the Qurious Space Kid's Explorer Telescope Gift Kit, and our number 5 pick, the Scientoy Telescope for Kids.

Cost and Durability

A child is also less likely to appreciate the cost of a telescope. And to that end, a telescope for kids should be durable, robust, and forgiving to less careful users.

If this is a concern for you, then we would recommend our number 1 pick, the Qurious Space Kid's Explorer Telescope Gift Kit, because it comes with a rugged protective carry case.

This is why we chose only the more affordable telescopes in our top 5 picks, and all of them are available for under $100 each. Though some are clearly more affordable than others. (We recommend that you check out the prices as you go along.)

Moreover, the amount of money you spend on the scope should reflect how much time and commitment the child is likely to give to their stargazing.

Some Other Things to Think About

Do you want the telescope to be accompanied by fun yet educational learning materials?

If this is important to you, then we HAVE to recommend our number 1 pick, the Qurious Space Kid's Explorer Telescope Gift Kit. 

This is because not only does the kid get a telescope and tripod, but there are all sorts of other things included to help with both their fun and their learning. 

This includes: a compass, a star and lunar chart, an engaging activity guide, and some glow in the dark stickers for their bedroom!

Magnification Power

Good magnification power comes from having a large aperture size on the telescope combined with a long focal length. But these are not the only deciding factors as to how close up you will be able to see with a telescope…

This is because telescopes, including most of those in our top 5 picks, come with additional eyepieces that work to magnify the image and increase the size of the image even further.

Where and how do you want to use the telescope?

Do you want a lightweight and portable telescope that you can take on camping trips? Or is it just for your kid to look at the sky from their bedroom at night? If this is the case, most of the telescopes in our top 5 picks will work for you.

Or do you want one with a large tripod that you can set up in your backyard? If this sounds more up your street, then we can recommend our number 2 pick, the Emarth Portable Refractor Telescope.

Do you want one with a finderscope?

If so, then we can recommend our number 1 pick, the Qurious Space Kid's Explorer Telescope Gift Kit, our number 2 pick, the Emarth Portable Refractor Telescope, and our number 4 pick, the SVBONY SV502 Telescope.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best telescope to buy for a child?

The fullest answer to this question is that it depends very much on the age of the child…

For a child aged from say 7 to 11, we would strongly recommend our number 1 pick, the Qurious Space Kid's Explorer Telescope Gift Kit, because it includes everything you’d want to nourish the child’s interest.

But for a younger child, aged from say 4 to 6, we would instead recommend our number 5 pick, the Scientoy Telescope for Kids.

What is a good telescope for a teenager?

We think that the best telescope for a teenager that’s out on the market at the moment is our number 2 pick, the Emarth Portable Refractor Telescope. It’s the most complex telescope and set-up in our top 5 picks, so should suit their level of capability.

And we’d like to think that your teenager can be trusted to properly look after a telescope of that price.

Which telescope is the best for beginners?

For any adult wanting to dive into the hobby of stargazing, we would recommend starting with our number 2 pick, the Emarth Portable Refractor Telescope. 

It may be good for older kids, but it also works well as an entry-level telescope for adults. Moreover, as telescopes for adults go, it’s certainly one of the more affordable ones.

What’s the best affordable telescope to buy?

All of the telescopes in our top 5 picks are quite affordable as far as telescopes go. Usually, powerful telescopes cost hundreds of dollars. But less powerful ones, such as those aimed at kids, are much more budget-friendly. 

If you’re happy with a less powerful telescope, and you’re buying as an adult beginner, then we would recommend our number 2 pick, the Emarth Portable Refractor Telescope. It’s the highest quality one in our selection.

What should I look for when buying a telescope?

When looking to buy a telescope, the main spec to look out for is magnification power.

Good magnification power comes from having a large aperture size on the telescope combined with a long focal length. But you should also consider the additional magnification power brought about by accompanying eyepieces.

You should also look into how easy the telescope is to maneuver once mounted onto the tripod. This makes it far easier to look at all the different parts of the night sky in one sitting.

Andy Morgan

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