Best Celestron Telescopes in 2024

The amateur astronomy community is small so there aren’t many popular brands around. Meade was one of them, and they kinda went bankrupt. Orion is definitely going strong at the moment.

But, Celestron can be considered the most popular telescope brand. It was founded in the 1960s, and standardized its position in the astronomy business. It is one of those rare astronomy-kit brands that doesn’t seem to tumble. Is that because of quality, or simple marketing strategy? Let’s take a look.

Celestron is mostly recognized for it’s catadioptric telescopes

If you have been looking for a new telescope or adding a new one to your set, you most likely know about the Celestron’s NexStar SE series. The series was first introduced in 2005. The basics such as the GoTo capability and optical design have been consistent for many years.

They offer a strong entry point for most amateur astronomers due to the community of the NexStar SE series mostly. These telescopes are widely preffered, and retailers are filled with accessories that are compatible with the NexStar SE’s. 

Celestron’s entry to the dobsonian landscape

The introduction of the StarSense series was a new beginning for Celestron. The dobsonian market, which is the most impactful one in the amateur astronomer community, was untouched by Celestron until the introduction of StarSense 8” and StarSense 6” telescopes.

Please don’t go for AstroMaster’s. They are hobby killers.

A high quality refractor telescope is not easy to find. The AstroMaster to many, seems like a good deal since Celestron is such a famous and reliable brand. However, the AstroMaster series, in my humble opinion, is an exception. These telescopes are filled with low quality plastic and the optical power is so disappointing that you would be better of with a tabletop telescope. For great tabletop choices, please visit this article. These telescopes will serve you much better than the AstroMaster’s.

Best for beginners: Celestron NexStar 6SE

TTB score

9.1

The Good

  • PERFECT OPTICAL DESIGN
  • PLANETARY PERFORMANCE
  • AUTO-TRACKING
  • GOTO CAPABILITIES
  • PORTABLE

The Bad

  • NO BUILT-IN BATTERY
  • IMPRECISE FOCUSER
  • WOBBLES WHILE FOCUSING
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Get this telescope if you can. Sure, it is a little more bothersome than a dobsonian or tabletop telescope. However, NexStar provides excellent optical quality,  a wide array of accessory choices and a pretty decent build quality. NexStar 6SE is a strong statement for an amateur astronomer. In addition, it’s GoTo capabilities provides ease of use for beginners.

Celestron NexStar 8SE

TTB score

9

The Good

  • PERFECT OPTICAL DESIGN
  • 8" APERTURE
  • PLANETARY PERFORMANCE
  • AUTO-TRACKING
  • GOTO CAPABILITIES
  • PORTABLE

The Bad

  • NO BUILT-IN BATTERY
  • NEEDS UPGRADES
  • 8" OPTICAL TUBE NEEDS A STRONGER BASE
  • EXPENSIVE
  • MILD COMA
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The NexStar 8SE comes with the same design as the 6SE, with a wider aperture. The additional aperture provides 77% more light gathering ability, which equates to 77% better image quality. So if your budget permits, 8SE is the better option without a question.

Celestron Evolution 8”

TTB score

9.5

The Good

  • 8” Aperture Sufficient For Lunar, Planetary, And Deep-Sky Viewing
  • Some Astrophotography Capabilities
  • Motorized Tracking & GoTo With Built-In Battery
  • Fairly Lightweight And Compact

The Bad

  • Long Focal Length And Narrow Field Of View
  • Expensive For What You Get
  • Limited For Deep-Sky Astrophotography
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The Evolution 8” telescope comes with superior optical quality compared to the NexStar SE series. The optical quality comes with a price, however. The 2200$ price tag is not in the comfortable price range for many amateur astronomers. And in addition, whether the price tag is suitable to what this telescope offers is a question. But for many, the availability of the compatible accessories, build quality and reliability of Celestron products may be enough.

Celestron CPC 1100

TTB score

9

The Good

  • Huge 11” (280mm) Aperture Gathers Plenty Of Light For Awesome Deep-Sky Views
  • Fairly Simple To Set Up And Use
  • Sharp Optics Great For Planetary Observing Or Imaging
  • High-Quality Construction

The Bad

  • Fork/Optical Tube Section Is Very Heavy And Not Particularly Compact
  • Extremely Long Focal Length Means Narrow Field Of View
  • Needs A Wedge For Long-Exposure Astrophotography, Increasing Cost And Physical Toll Of Setting Up
  • Very Expensive
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A serious choice. The CPC 1100 excellent optical quality for visual observation and planetary imaging. The aperture(280mm) is as wide as it gets with catadioptrics, and the due to this simple fact, the fork mount is massive. This telescope is bulky, and has a narrow field of view. But the build quality, and the optical power might make you consider the price tag of 4000$.

Honorable Mention: Celestron StarSense 8”

TTB score

8.5

The Good

  • Decent Included Accessories
  • StarSense Explorer App
  • Well-Designed Ergonomics
  • 2” Crayford Focuser

The Bad

  • Annoying Altitude Bearing Design
  • High Price For What You Get
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An 8” dobsonian telescope from Celestron is surprising. Dobsonian telescopes are known for their ease of use, and optical power per dollar due to their simple design. Although Celestron’s price tag for this telescope can be considered a little too high, it might be a decent choice for many. However, I don’t recommend going for to the 10” StarSense model since It comes with balance issues, and there are better dobsonian options in the market. Check our dobsonian choices in 2024 article for the best picks.