Updated June 2023
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Best of the Best
Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Telescope STEM Toy
Educational Insights
GeoSafari Jr. Talking Telescope STEM Toy
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Informative & Fun
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With verbal fun facts and built-in quizzes, this is a great first telescope for aspiring astronomers.


Voice-acted by Emily Calanderilli and offers a variety of 240 pieces of trivia and questions. Users can switch between 24 images from NASA. Buttons are purposefully placed and sized for kids' hands. Dual eyepieces make it effortless to operate.


May not be the best choice for older children.

Best Bang for the Buck
Educational Insights GeoSafari Omega Refractor Telescope
Educational Insights
GeoSafari Omega Refractor Telescope
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Most Comprehensive
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This beginner's telescope set arrives with eyepieces, lenses, and everything else you need to get started.


Powerful magnification permits children to zoom up close to the moon, planets, and stars. Full package includes 4 eyepieces and 2 lenses. Combine the Barlow lens and eyepieces for more intense viewing. Place in parks or your backyard.


Lightly built, so can wobble easily when putting it in place.

TYUWGMS Kids Astronomical Telescope
Kids Astronomical Telescope
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Easiest to Use
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This unique model features all of the necessities of a regular telescope without any of the confusing hardware.


Travel-friendly as it comes with a foldable tripod and lightweight telescope. Requires no tools or complicated instructions for setup. Comes with a Barlow lens and 2 eyepieces for further magnification. Has a durable design.


Images aren't as high quality as more professional telescopes on the market.

Little Experimenter Telescope for Kids
Little Experimenter
Telescope for Kids
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Bottom Line

The Little Experimenter's telescope functions both as a magnification tool and a space-themed projector.


Full of colors and interesting features that will engage your child's imagination. Enjoy the projected pictures or fill out the educational activity booklet provided. A collapsible tripod makes it convenient to carry and store.


Does not function as a typical telescope, so works better as a pretend plaything.

HEXEUM Astronomical Refracting Telescope
Astronomical Refracting Telescope
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Customizable Size
Bottom Line

The adjustable tripod and carrying case allow this telescope to grow alongside your child.


A higher-quality telescope for those more interested in finding constellations and planets. Features excellent magnification that can be increased with the included Barlow lens or eyepieces. The full package includes a phone adapter, remote control, and carrying bag.


Can be more challenging to operate compared to other children's telescopes.


We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best telescopes for kids

The stars, planets, and galaxies strewn across Earth's night sky are a wonder to behold, especially to the developing minds of young children. What better way to explore these beautiful curiosities with your child than with a telescope for kids? A child’s telescope can not only stimulate learning and STEM skills but also inspire a passion for science and astronomy.

While kids’ telescopes are designed to be easy to use, they are still complex devices with a number of features and parts that a child needs to know how to use for a successful stargazing session. It might seem intimidating at first, but learning how these telescopes function is an important step in choosing the best kids’ telescope for your family. A good buying guide and product recommendations can help you in your search.

a girl looking through a telescope
If your child shows a keen interest in astronomy, you might want to buy a mid-range telescope that can be upgraded with accessories.

How to buy the best telescope for kids


An important factor when choosing the best telescope for kids is figuring out what your child wants to look at. Do they want to view the moon and planets in our solar system? Is your kid more interested in nebulae and other distant galaxies? Would they prefer to look at mountain ranges or other terrestrial features from far away?

What your child is most passionate about viewing has a big impact on the telescope you choose. If they’re more interested in observing things like birds, trees, and wildlife, perhaps a pair of affordable binoculars would be a better choice.

Types of telescopes for kids

There are three main kinds of telescopes for kids: refractor, reflector, and compound.

Refractor (refracting): These telescopes are the simplest. They include a long tube and lenses that focus the image in the eyepiece. Refractor telescopes are best for viewing closer objects in the sky and on Earth and are the most common type of telescope for children. However, these telescopes are the most susceptible to false color, or chromatic aberration, that can cause halos around objects.

Reflector: Reflector telescopes use a set of curved mirrors and a single lens to produce a magnified image. The mirrors are able to collect more light, producing clear images that are free of chromatic aberrations. Reflector telescopes are ideal for viewing planets and distant objects in deep space, such as nebulae and galaxies. They aren’t suitable for viewing closer objects on Earth.

Compound (catadioptric): These telescopes combine elements of both reflector and refractor telescopes, using both lenses and mirrors to collect light and magnify the image. They produce the clearest visuals and often incorporate computerized tools that make them quite user-friendly. However, compound telescopes cost more, and large ones can be quite heavy.

Age range

Most kids’ telescopes are geared for children ages 8 to 12. Some simpler telescopes might be suitable for younger children ages 5 to 7 if they have the help of an older sibling or adult. It's important to note that telescopes for kids are not toys. Toy telescopes are largely made of colorful plastic, and while they have some magnification, they aren't capable of viewing objects at any great distance. Toy telescopes are designed for very young children around the ages of 3 to 6.

While many kids’ telescopes mount on a tripod, there are also tabletop telescopes. One of these might be easier for a child to start out with, but they’re more limited in their height and angle adjustments.


Features to look for in telescopes for kids


The magnification of kids’ telescopes tells you how much larger the object you’re looking at will appear. These telescopes typically have magnifications of 20x to 50x, and up to 200x, with x being the size of the object viewed with the unaided eye. For example, 50x magnification means the lens magnifies the object 50 times its size seen with the unaided eye.

The general rule for useful magnification in telescopes is that it doesn't exceed double the telescope's aperture in millimeters. That means that for a 70-millimeter aperture, the highest magnification for clear images would be 140x.

Focal length

The focal length of a child’s telescope is the distance that light travels from its entry point (aperture) to the focal point (the focuser nearest the eyepiece). This is measured in millimeters and ranges from 300 to 700 millimeters for kids’ telescopes. Telescopes for adults can be as large as 3,000 millimeters. The longer the focal length, the shorter the field of view and the greater the magnification. (A telescope's field of view is the visible landscape through the telescope's eyepiece.)


The eyepiece (ocular) on the telescope is the part through which your child views the images. It also magnifies the image, and its focal length is measured in millimeters. For kids’ telescopes, this ranges from 4 to 35 millimeters. Many telescopes for kids come with eyepieces with different focal lengths designed to view different objects.


The aperture of a telescope for kids is an important consideration. It refers to the diameter of the lens or mirror that captures light. It’s measured in millimeters, and the larger the diameter, the more light the telescope can collect. The most common aperture size for kids’ telescopes is 70 millimeters, but they range from 40 to 90 millimeters.


This is the part that supports and holds up the telescope. It consists of two parts: the tripod and the mount head. The mount also allows the user to swivel the telescope and adjust its angle and direction. There are two types of telescope mounts: altazimuth (alt-az) and equatorial.

Altazimuth: These mounts are simpler in design and can be adjusted on horizontal and vertical axes.

Equatorial: These mounts are more advanced, with a polar axis parallel to Earth's rotational axis. These mounts are the most popular among astronomers and astrophotographers, but they might be too advanced for kids starting out with their first telescope.


A finder is a small, narrow tube that attaches to the top of the telescope. It has little to no magnification and serves as a guide to aim the telescope at your subject before making the finer adjustments through the eyepiece.

a boy looking through a telescope
The higher the magnification, the darker and more distorted the subject appears. That means the telescope's magnification power isn't the only important tool. Choose a telescope with a wider aperture to provide a clearer and better-lit image.

How to use a telescope for kids

Most kids’ telescopes come ready to use, with minimal assembly, so they’re easy and simple for a child to set up. Here are some helpful steps to follow to make sure your child uses their telescope successfully.

  1. Choose an area with an open sky. Ideally, it’s one with minimal light pollution from nearby towns or cities. Check the weather ahead of time to make sure that the sky will be clear and free of cloud cover.
  2. Research the location of the object your child wants to see. If your child wants to see a specific planet, constellation, or galaxy, be sure to research if it’s visible from your location and where exactly it will be at what time. Make note of specific measurements when necessary.
  3. Set up and aim the telescope. Carefully remove the telescope from its bag and place it on a level, sturdy surface. Use your measurement notes, compass, or star-mapping app to correctly aim the telescope in the direction of your subject.
  4. Set the height of the tripod. It should be a height that’s comfortable for your child to be able to look through the eyepiece and finder. Connect the mount to the tripod.
  5. Use the finder to scan for the subject you want to see. Adjust the mount head to position the telescope as needed.
  6. Adjust the focus for a clear image. And enjoy your stargazing!

How much do telescopes for kids cost?


The most affordable telescopes for kids cost $20 to $80. These usually include basic components like a tripod, mount, and a few eyepieces. They’re typically refractor telescopes, which are lightweight and simple, often with an altazimuth mount.


These telescopes for kids cost between $80 and $200. These can be refractors, reflectors, or compound telescopes of decent to relatively high quality. They often include a carrying bag and two to three eyepieces. They might also come with a smartphone mount and user-friendly computerized tools.


The most expensive telescopes for kids cost $200 to $500. These can be any type, but many refractor and compound telescopes fall in this price range. They include high-quality accessories and offer a variety of eyepieces and magnifications. Some of the best kids’ telescopes cost as much as $1,000.

Your child can take photos of the images they see through the telescope's eyepiece using a smartphone, a small camera, or a more advanced DSLR camera connected with an adapter.



  • Make sure the finder is properly aligned with the eyepiece. If you look through the eyepiece and don't see the same object as in your finder, it's likely because they aren't lined up correctly.
  • Choose lower magnification for a greater field of view. Higher magnification limits the field of view.
  • Never look directly at the sun during the day. This is very dangerous and can cause not only temporary discomfort but permanent retina damage.
  • Use the telescope's lens cap. While a little bit of dust accumulation is normal, you want to protect the lens. Replace the lens cap on the telescope when it’s not in use to protect the lens from dirt, scrapes, and scratches.
  • Think about the telescope’s weight. You want a telescope that’s light enough for your child to carry around and manipulate without difficulty.
a girl looking through a telescope
The best way to view stars, planets, and galaxies is on clear nights far away from the light pollution of towns and cities.


Q. What magnification do I need to see Saturn's rings?

A. Saturn's rings are visible through even small telescopes with apertures of at least 50 millimeters and a magnification of 25x. Using a telescope with a magnification of 50x lets you see finer details, such as the gap between the planet and the rings.

Q. Do I need a telescope eyepiece?

A. Yes, an eyepiece is an essential part of the telescope. It serves as the main viewing tool and its magnification is crucial for the human eye to see the telescope's images.

Q. When is the best time to view the moon through a telescope?

A. Contrary to popular belief, the full moon is actually the most difficult to view because of the bright light that it emits. It's easier to see the moon through a telescope for kids during its other phases when it’s waxing or waning.


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