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Orion telescopes vs. Celestron telescopes

Are Orion or Celestron telescopes best? 

Are you looking to gaze into a clear night sky and see the planets with a starry background? Well, look no further than two of the best manufacturers available, Orion and Celestron. These companies are top of the line and set the standard in the world of astronomy. Although they both offer a range of different products for any budget or skill level, they differ in their warranties, motorized operations and mobility. 

Orion Telescopes

Orion telescopes were founded in 1975 and have produced high-quality opticals ever since. Their employee-owned company promises 100% satisfaction with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a limited 1-year warranty, proving a commitment to their customers. On top everything else, Orion offers free technical support before or after any purchase of their product.  

Their prices range from $65 for beginners and children to $9,500 for professional-grade telescopes with every type of bell and whistle imaginable. Whatever your skill level or budget, you can find the right one for you, but let’s take a closer look and analyze the pros and cons of their beginner stage telescope. 

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Orion StarMax 90mm TableTop Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope pros

Weighing just 6.5 pounds when fully assembled, this compact telescope is so easily transportable, and you can take it almost anywhere to provide beautiful views of the night sky. Whether you are in your backyard, on a road trip, or camping on a mountain top, you’re able to catch views of craters in the Moon and even catch glimpses of bright planets like Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. It can gather enough light to gain optics of brighter deep space objects like globular clusters, nebulas and many bright galaxies. Its solid foundation ensures a stable view, but you can even attach it to a field tripod with a ⅜ or ¼-inch 20 threaded posts. It includes two eyepieces, with one offering 50x magnification. The other delivers an impressive 125x. If weather conditions permit, you can potentially see Jupiter's four moons. Its reflex sight makes for easy aiming and comfortable night viewing as well. It’s also less susceptible to wind conditions due to its compacted design and weighted foundation.

StarMax 90mm TableTop Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope cons

There isn't a tripod included, so if you’re out in the field to get a clearer view of the night sky, you may have trouble finding a proper surface to place the telescope on. Unfortunately, as transportable as this telescope may be, there is no carrying case included to keep it safe while traveling, and it is not something that you should throw in a trunk or backseat. Its appearance may also be a little intimidating for someone who’s inexperienced working with telescopes. 

Celestron Telescopes

In 1964, founder Tom Johnson discovered an inexpensive way to mass-produce corrector plates leading to the success of the Celestron brand. They quickly created one of the highest-selling amateur telescopes, which was also the first telescope small enough to fit into an average car and made astronomy affordable for the public. They continued to make history decades later with the first mass-produced computerized telescope and quickly became a go-to for classrooms and astronomers alike.

They’re known around the world for making some of the best telescopes money can buy. A 2-year warranty covers every telescope they sell, from their beginner models starting around $50 to their most professional devices that are upwards of $10,000 in price. Even better, they also include a limited lifetime warranty on the glass optical system for the telescope’s lifetime under the original owner. 

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Celestron AstroMaster 76EQ Newtonian Telescope pros

The tripod is included making for a quick and easy set-up just about anywhere with no tools required. It’s surprisingly stable, too, because it has thick, steel tubed legs. It has two eyepieces and a StarPointer red dot finderscope included. Also packaged is a free download of one of the top consumer-rated astronomy software programs, progressing the knowledge of whoever is peering into the lens. For years to come, high-quality, fully coated optics produce a clear and crisp image of celestial and terrestrial objects. The AstroMaster is a manually adjustable mount by German Equatorial technology equipped with two slow-motion control knobs that make for smooth, accurate adjustments and pointing precision. Like all the Celestron products, it comes with a two-year warranty and unlimited access to technical support from a team of US-based experts, making for unbeatable coverage.

Celestron AstroMaster 76EQ Newtonian Telescope cons

Although still light and transportable, this telescope’s weight comes in just over 16 pounds, about 10 pounds heavier than its Orion competitor. Its eyepieces may need upgrading to fully use the powerful telescope and provide more magnification for detailed observations. Although the tripod is quite sturdy, it may be more affected by wind variables by not having a solid base frame.

Should you get the Orion StarMax Telescope or the Celestron AstroMaster Telescope?

With their reputation, historic milestones and a higher level of experience as a manufacturer, the bottom line is that Celestron makes better quality telescopes from beginner to professional. Their warranty is unbeatable, which provides peace of mind for anyone looking to invest in their product. Their quality optics and German engineering are untouchable by their competition and are used more often by professionals, observatories and classrooms globally. 


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Alec Welsh writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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