Best 8-Inch Dobsonian Telescopes (2022) – View Planets and Galaxies

Dobsonians are the best value telescope type and an 8-inch Dobsonian telescope provides the perfect balance of power to price.

In this article, we recommend the top models available in 2022 and outline the key pros and cons of each.

See below for quick links or read on for further detail.

Preview
Best Overall
Celestron – StarSense Explorer 8-inch Dobsonian Smartphone App-Enabled Telescope – Works with StarSense App to Help You Find Nebulae, Planets & More – 8” DOB Telescope – iPhone/Android Compatible
Best GOTO
SkyWatcher S11800 GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian 8-Inch (White)
Best Orion
Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope
Best Budget
Sky Watcher Classic 200 Dobsonian 8-inch Aperature Telescope – Solid-Tube – Simple, Traditional Design – Easy to Use, Perfect for Beginners, White (S11610)
Make & Model
Celestron StarSense Explorer 8" Dobsonian
SkyWatcher GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian 8"
Orion SkyQuest XT8
Sky Watcher Classic 200 Dobsonian 8"
Aperture
8-inch
8-inch
8-inch
8-inch
GOTO/Manual
Manual
GOTO
Manual
Manual
Weight
43.4 lbs
92.6 lbs
41 lbs
53 lbs
Focal length
1200 mm
1200 mm
1200 mm
1200 mm
Focal ratio
F/5.9
F/5.9
F/5.9
F/5.9
Best Overall
Preview
Celestron – StarSense Explorer 8-inch Dobsonian Smartphone App-Enabled Telescope – Works with StarSense App to Help You Find Nebulae, Planets & More – 8” DOB Telescope – iPhone/Android Compatible
Make & Model
Celestron StarSense Explorer 8" Dobsonian
Aperture
8-inch
GOTO/Manual
Manual
Weight
43.4 lbs
Focal length
1200 mm
Focal ratio
F/5.9
Check prices
Best GOTO
Preview
SkyWatcher S11800 GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian 8-Inch (White)
Make & Model
SkyWatcher GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian 8"
Aperture
8-inch
GOTO/Manual
GOTO
Weight
92.6 lbs
Focal length
1200 mm
Focal ratio
F/5.9
Check prices
Best Orion
Preview
Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope
Make & Model
Orion SkyQuest XT8
Aperture
8-inch
GOTO/Manual
Manual
Weight
41 lbs
Focal length
1200 mm
Focal ratio
F/5.9
Check prices
Best Budget
Preview
Sky Watcher Classic 200 Dobsonian 8-inch Aperature Telescope – Solid-Tube – Simple, Traditional Design – Easy to Use, Perfect for Beginners, White (S11610)
Make & Model
Sky Watcher Classic 200 Dobsonian 8"
Aperture
8-inch
GOTO/Manual
Manual
Weight
53 lbs
Focal length
1200 mm
Focal ratio
F/5.9
Check prices

Last update on 2022-12-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

*This website makes money through affiliate commissions. This means we may be compensated if you click links on this page at no extra cost to you.


Celestron Starsense Explorer 8-Inch Dobsonian Telescope

Best Beginners 8-Inch Dobsonian Telescope

Celestron 8-inch Dobsonian Telescope

The Celestron Starsense Explorer 8-Inch Dobsonian was newly released in 2022 and features innovative smartphone interactivity that sets it apart from other manual models.

It is a high-quality 8-inch Dobsonian that utilizes Celestron’s StarSense Explorer technology to make finding astronomical objects to view in the night sky much easier.

How this works is you attach your smartphone to the telescope base and using the app you scan the sky above you to get a list of what is available for you to see that night (for example, the planet Jupiter or the Andromeda galaxy). It then guides you to direct the telescope yourself so you can see it.

This innovation allows you to have a manual telescope with many of the advantages of a computerized telescope without actually having to have a GOTO mount.

The bonus of this is that it is cheaper and simpler, and it doesn’t need to be plugged in or have some other external power source to keep it going.

This makes it the perfect option for beginners, but it is also suitable for anyone who would welcome help in locating things to look at in the sky.

You can watch this short video from Celestron to get a good overview of how this telescope works:

Pros

  • High-quality 8-inch aperture OTA
  • Innovative Starsense technology makes it easy to find astronomical objects to view in seconds
  • Made by Celestron, one of the best telescope manufacturers around

Cons

  • Like all Dobsonians, it is big and heavy
  • Not GOTO, but the Starsense technology compensates for this

Overall, this is a great option and, unless you really want a computerized model, is our top recommendation.

The smartphone interactivity is truly awesome and the telescope is in the same price range as a regular 8-inch Dobsonian and so likely makes sense for most people. It can also be bought as a 10-inch model.

Key specifications

  • Aperture: 203 mm (8-inch)
  • Focal Length: 1200 mm (47-inch)
  • Focal Ratio: F/5.9
  • Weight: 43.4 lbs (19.7 kg)
  • Manual/GOTO: Manual

Sky-Watcher 8-Inch GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian Telescope

Best GOTO 8-Inch Dobsonian Telescope

SkyWatcher GoTo Dobsonian Telescope 8-Inch

The Sky-Watcher 8-Inch GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian Telescope is a computerized telescope. This means that it can scan the night sky and locate objects for you at the press of a button using the included handset.

This GOTO technology is pretty awesome and allows for a much simpler and quicker experience, rather than having to manually locate things yourself.

In addition, it will track the object you are viewing as it moves across the sky, so you don’t have to keep adjusting to manually track wherever you are looking at.

The downside of this is that computerized telescopes naturally cost more (roughly twice the price of a manual equivalent). In addition, they need to be plugged in to use (or have some sort of external power source), which adds cables and makes them less portable.

You can therefore weigh up whether this is worth it for you. Most people favor a GOTO telescope if they have the budget because of the simplicity that it provides.

Pros

  • High-quality 8-inch aperture OTA from one of the most respected telescope manufacturers
  • GOTO base allows you to locate astronomical objects at the press of a button from a database of 42,000+, and will track them across the night sky
  • Built-in wifi so that you can control the telescope from your smartphone or tablet, rather than the handset
  • Collapsible design allows it to pack up smaller for easier storage and portability

Cons

  • The computerized base makes it heavier than the manual models
  • The GOTO technology comes at a higher cost in comparison to the manual models

Overall, this is the perfect option if you want to the GOTO technology built into your telescope and have the budget.

Key specifications

  • Aperture: 203 mm (8-inch)
  • Focal Length: 1200 mm (47-inch)
  • Focal Ratio: F/5.9
  • Weight: 92.6 lbs (42 kg)
  • Manual/GOTO: GOTO

Orion SkyQuest XT8

Best Orion 8-Inch Dobsonian Telescope

Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope

The Orion SkyQuest XT8 is a manual Dobsonian reflector from Orion – one of the most trusted and reliable manufacturers.

It is a classic, non-collapsible design, so is rather large and cannot be shrunk like the collapsible model above.

This is a simple-to-use telescope that is perfect for astronomical observing.

Pros

  • High-quality 8-inch aperture OTA
  • Orion is a well-trusted brand
  • Relatively affordable

Cons

  • Like all Dobsonians, it is big and heavy
  • Not GOTO/computerized

Overall, this is a great option if you want a regular/classic 8-inch Dobsonian for astronomy, are not bothered by GOTO (or don’t have the budget), or maybe have a preference for Orion products.

Key specifications

  • Aperture: 203 mm (8-inch)
  • Focal Length: 1200 mm (47-inch)
  • Focal Ratio: F/5.9
  • Weight: 41 lbs (18.6 kg)
  • Manual/GOTO: Manual

Sky-Watcher Classic 8-inch Dobsonian Telescope

Best Budget 8-Inch Dobsonian Telescope

Sky Watcher Classic Dobsonian 8-inch Telescope

The Sky-Watcher Classic 8-inch Dobsonian Telescope is very similar to the Orion model above – a regular, non-collapsible, manual 8-inch Dobsonian.

This is our budget pick because it currently markets as the cheapest option (but please check live prices as they vary).

This is especially great since Sky-Watcher is one of the best manufacturers out there, so you get a great telescope at a great price.

If you are interested in what you might be able to see through this scope, check out this video of what the planets Jupiter and Saturn look like through it:

Pros

  • Cheap – a real bargain for the price
  • High-quality telescope and base
  • Made by Sky-Watcher, which are reliably one of the best telescope manufacturers

Cons

  • Large and not collapsible
  • Fully manual, not computerized

Overall, this is a great option if you don’t want/need GOTO and want the cheapest deal without sacrificing quality.

Key specifications

  • Aperture: 203 mm (8-inch)
  • Focal Length: 1200 mm (47-inch)
  • Focal Ratio: F/5.9
  • Weight: 53 lbs (24 kg)
  • Manual/GOTO: Manual

Are 8-Inch Dobsonian Telescopes Good and What Can You See With Them?

8-inch Dobsonians are perfect astronomy telescopes.

They have an extremely large aperture which means that they gather a lot of light and give you bright, clear views of the planets of the solar system and deep-sky objects like galaxies and nebula.

The long focal length in particular helps you get in close to view objects like our Moon, as well as the planets as you effectively zoom in close with a relatively narrow field of view.

This type of telescope – the Dobsonian reflector – provides the best bang for the buck in terms of the price to aperture ratio. For example, an 8-inch refractor or catadioptric telescope will be significantly more expensive.

The downsides of Dobsonians are:

  • Size and weight – They really are huge and so will not suit everyone. Others may need more compact and/or portable models to work for them.
  • Astrophotography – They are great for observing but not so great for astrophotography. See more on this in the FAQs below.

In all, 8-inch Dobs are brilliant telescopes for observing. They are simple to use and can just be rolled out to start observing whenever you want.

This video below from Ed Ting’s great YouTube channel provides some great insight into why an 8-inch Dobsonian is such a great telescope.

What To Consider When Buying an 8-Inch Dobsonian Telescope

The main things to think about when considering whether an 8-inch Dobsonian is right for you and which model to go for are:

  1. Size
  2. GOTO or manual
  3. Manufacturer

8-inch Dobsonian size

The one major thing you need to be aware of when considering buying an 8-inch Dobsonian is its size.

They are very big and so will only suit people who have a place in their homes to use and store them. These are not something you might have in the corner of a kid’s bedroom that can be moved around at will.

You can get an idea of this from the picture below that they stand at nearly the height of a grown adult:

Image taken from this Celestron video.

Therefore, just think about where you will use it – i.e. do you have a backyard with a solid flat ground where you will use it and do you have space in a garage or similar to store it? If not, you might want to consider a more compact telescope.

One thing that can reduce the storage size is getting a flextube model, like the Sky-Watcher model recommended above. This means that the telescope can pack up smaller when not being used for easier storage.

These models tend to cost a little more though and they may need an additional component called a light shroud that wraps around the telescope when it is being used (not essential, but you might want to add it later).

GOTO or Manual

If you are ok with the size of an 8-inch Dobsonian, then the main choice to make is whether or not you want a GOTO (or computerized) model.

A GOTO telescope has in-built technology that scans the sky and locates whatever you want to see automatically. This is controlled by a handset or via an app you use on your smartphone.

This saves time and allows you to find astronomical objects much faster and therefore see much more in a session.

The additional bonus is that it will track what you are viewing as the Earth rotates. This means that it will not move out of the eyepiece when you step away. With manual telescopes you have to constantly adjust to follow the object as it moves.

The main downside of this is that it increases the cost of the telescope. In addition, though, it also means that it requires a power source – this means cables running out into your backyard, for instance.

Manufacturer

The last thing to consider is the telescope manufacturer.

The leading brands in the US are Celestron, Sky-Watcher, and Orion.

Often though, there are brands like Zhumell, GSO, and Apertura that sell effectively the same telescopes manufactured in China or Taiwan, and sometimes these are cheaper.

This is where you can weigh up the risk of who you buy from. The leading brands have long-earned reputations and some degree of good customer service and support and so you may prefer to stick with them.


FAQs: Best 8-Inch Dobsonian Telescope

Is an 8-inch Dobsonian telescope good?

8-inch dobsonian telescopes are very good for astronomy. In fact, there will be few limits to what you can see in the night sky with one of these due to the high power.

They are also good value for the price, compared to 8-inch aperture telescopes of different types, like refractors or compounds.

What is the best 8-inch Dobsonian Telescope for beginners?

The Celestron Starsense Explorer 8-Inch Dobsonian is great for beginners. It allows you to connect your smartphone to scan the sky above you and guide to you what you want to look at.

What can you see with an 8-inch Dobsonian telescope?

8-inch Dobsonian telescopes are excellent for viewing the moon and planets of our solar system, as well as deep-sky objects like nebula and galaxies.

Are 8-inch Dobsonians good for astrophotography?

Dobsonians are perfect for astronomy but not ideal for astrophotography. It can be done, especially things like lunar imaging that doesn’t require long exposures, but they are not perfect.

This is because the Dobsonian mount is a kind of alt-azimuth mount that only moves up and down, and left and right, which is not ideal for tracking objects in the sky. Equatorial mounts, in contrast, can track smoothly in any direction.

If you want a telescope for astrophotography, you will most likely be looking for an apochromatic refractor or a Schmidt-Cassegrain catadioptric with an astrophotography mount.

Note though, that these cost more and won’t be as good for observing. Ideally, you pick one or the other, as few telescopes are perfect for both astronomy and astrophotography.

With astronomy, you really benefit from the large aperture to get good views, but it is less important for astrophotography because you will take long exposures to capture the light for the images.

How good is an 8-inch telescope?

Aperture is the best measure of the views that a telescope will provide. 8-inches is very large and will offer advanced opportunities for viewing.


Conclusion: What’s the Best 8-Inch Dobsonian For You?

Overall, we recommend:

  1. The Celestron Starsense Explorer 8″ is a brilliant, innovative telescope that uses smartphone interactivity to make it significantly easier to locate and view things in the night sky. It can also be bought with 10-inch aperture if you want even more capacity.
  2. The Sky-Watcher 8-Inch GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian Telescope is best if you want a computerized model and have the budget.
  3. Lastly, the Orion Skyline 8″ and Sky-Watcher Classic 8″ are the best budget options. There is little to choose between these three in terms of performance and so you can look around for the best price.

As noted above, make sure that you are aware of the size of these telescopes as they are large, bulky and heavy and you should ensure you have the space to store and use one before you buy.

If you don’t have the space for a giant dobsonian like these, then you might want to consider some of our other telescope buying guides.

.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.