Best Intermediate Telescopes 2023 (6 to 8-inch in stock)

If you are an experienced astronomer – or just unafraid of a challenge – then an intermediate telescope with a 6 to 8-inch aperture might be right for you.

Many beginners’ telescopes can be disproportionately expensive as they add features only useful for kids or first-time users. With an intermediate-level telescope, you can get a larger aperture and a more advanced mount to give you a better capacity for astronomical observing and astrophotography.

In this article, we recommend a number of telescopes that fit this bill for different budgets.

*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.

Best Equatorial
Orion AstroView 6 Equatorial Reflector Telescope
Budget Pick
Sky-Watcher Heritage 130mm Tabletop Dobsonian 5-inch Aperture Telescope – Innovative Collapsible Design – Easy to Use, Perfect for Beginners, Black/White (S11705)
Best 6-inch GOTO
Celestron - NexStar 6SE Telescope - Computerized Telescope for Beginners and Advanced Users - Fully-Automated GoTo Mount - SkyAlign Technology - 40,000 plus Celestial Objects - 6-Inch Primary Mirror
Best Dobsonian
Sky-Watcher Flextube 200 Dobsonian 8-inch Collapsible Large Aperture Telescope – Portable, Easy to Use, Perfect for Beginners (S11700)
Best 8-inch GOTO
Celestron - NexStar 8SE Telescope - Computerized Telescope for Beginners and Advanced Users - Fully-Automated GoTo Mount - SkyAlign Technology - 40,000+ Celestial Objects - 8-Inch Primary Mirror
Make & model
Orion Astroview 6
Sky-Watcher Heritage
Celestron NexStar 6SE
Sky-Watcher 8" Collapsible Dobsonian
Celestron NexStar 8SE
Type
Equatorial Reflector
Tabletop Dobsonian
Catadioptric (Schmidt-Cassegrain)
Dobsonian Reflector
Catadioptric (Schmidt-Cassegrain)
Computerized
Aperture
150 mm (6-inch)
130 mm (5-inch)
150 mm (6-inch)
203 mm (8-inch)
203 mm (8-inch)
Weight
37 lb (16.7 kg)
19 lb (8.6 kg)
31 lbs (14 kg)
55 lb (25 kg)
33 lb (15 kg)
Best Equatorial
Orion AstroView 6 Equatorial Reflector Telescope
Make & model
Orion Astroview 6
Type
Equatorial Reflector
Computerized
Aperture
150 mm (6-inch)
Weight
37 lb (16.7 kg)
Check price & availability
Budget Pick
Sky-Watcher Heritage 130mm Tabletop Dobsonian 5-inch Aperture Telescope – Innovative Collapsible Design – Easy to Use, Perfect for Beginners, Black/White (S11705)
Make & model
Sky-Watcher Heritage
Type
Tabletop Dobsonian
Computerized
Aperture
130 mm (5-inch)
Weight
19 lb (8.6 kg)
Check price & availability
Best 6-inch GOTO
Celestron - NexStar 6SE Telescope - Computerized Telescope for Beginners and Advanced Users - Fully-Automated GoTo Mount - SkyAlign Technology - 40,000 plus Celestial Objects - 6-Inch Primary Mirror
Make & model
Celestron NexStar 6SE
Type
Catadioptric (Schmidt-Cassegrain)
Computerized
Aperture
150 mm (6-inch)
Weight
31 lbs (14 kg)
Check price & availability
Best Dobsonian
Sky-Watcher Flextube 200 Dobsonian 8-inch Collapsible Large Aperture Telescope – Portable, Easy to Use, Perfect for Beginners (S11700)
Make & model
Sky-Watcher 8" Collapsible Dobsonian
Type
Dobsonian Reflector
Computerized
Aperture
203 mm (8-inch)
Weight
55 lb (25 kg)
Check price & availability
Best 8-inch GOTO
Celestron - NexStar 8SE Telescope - Computerized Telescope for Beginners and Advanced Users - Fully-Automated GoTo Mount - SkyAlign Technology - 40,000+ Celestial Objects - 8-Inch Primary Mirror
Make & model
Celestron NexStar 8SE
Type
Catadioptric (Schmidt-Cassegrain)
Computerized
Aperture
203 mm (8-inch)
Weight
33 lb (15 kg)
Check price & availability

Last update on 2023-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Best Intermediate Telescopes

Orion AstroView 6

Best Budget 6-inch Telescope

Orion AstroView 6 Equatorial Reflector Telescope

This AstroView telescope from Orion is a 6-inch aperture reflector with an equatorial mount.

The 6-inch aperture tube will act as a light bucket to give you great views of the moon, planets and deep-sky objects.

The equatorial mount is harder to operate than those others on this list, but is better for astrophotography once you’ve got the hang of it (because it can track objects in any direction, rather than just up-down, left-right like an alt-azimuth mount).

Pros

  • Cheap – great value for a 6-inch aperture telescope
  • The fast focal ratio and equatorial mount are great for astrophotography

Cons

  • No GOTO – you’ll have to find objects to view yourself
  • The equatorial mount is less suited to astronomical observing
  • It is a large and heavy piece of equipment once put together – make sure you’ve got the space at home to use and store it

This is a relative bargain in terms of price-to-power but is fairly large and heavy and the equatorial mount will take some getting used to.

Key specifications

  • Type: Reflector
  • Aperture: 150 mm (6-inch)
  • Focal Length: 750 mm (29-inch)
  • Focal Ratio: F/5
  • Weight: 37 lb (16.7 kg)
  • Mount: (Manual) Equatorial

Sky-Watcher Heritage 130mm

Best Budget Tabletop Dobsonian Telescope

Sky-Watcher Heritage 130mm Tabletop Dobsonian 5-inch Aperture Telescope – Innovative Collapsible Design – Easy to Use, Perfect for Beginners, Black/White (S11705)

This telescope from Sky-Watcher is a 5-inch aperture, tabletop Dobsonian reflector.

The 5-inch aperture will provide great views of the planets and deep-sky objects.

It is a reflector OTA (the telescope tube) on a tabletop Dobsonian mount. This is much easier to use, smaller, and lighter than an equatorial mount, like with the Orion AstroView above.

This is perfect for easy astronomy use in the backyard.

Pros

  • Small, compact, and relatively light for a 5-inch telescope
  • Easy to use tabletop dobsonian mount
  • Cheap in comparison to most 6 or 8-inch GOTO telescopes
  • Comes pre-assembled so no need to follow instructions and set it up yourself

Cons

  • You’ll need a sturdy tabletop or similar flat surface to make the most of this (unless you buy a separate tripod)

Overall, this is great value for a 5-inch telescope. You just need to make sure that the tabletop design will suit where you will use it.

Key specifications

  • Type: Tabletop Dobsonian Reflector
  • Aperture: 130 mm (5-inch)
  • Focal Length: 680 mm (27-inch)
  • Focal Ratio: F/5
  • Weight: 19 lb (8.6 kg)
  • Mount: Manual Dobsonian

Celestron NexStar 6SE

Best 6-inch GOTO Catadioptric Telescope

Celestron - NexStar 6SE Telescope - Computerized Telescope for Beginners and Advanced Users - Fully-Automated GoTo Mount - SkyAlign Technology - 40,000 plus Celestial Objects - 6-Inch Primary Mirror

The Celestron NexStar range gives you a great package with a:

  1. Quality OTA (Optical Tube Assembly)
  2. Great computerized mount and tripod

This GOTO telescope can be controlled via an app on your phone when you connect directly to the telescope’s own wifi. It then scans the sky above you, tells you what is available to see, and then takes you to what you select.

The 6-inch aperture will open up many viewing opportunities and provide bright, clear views of galaxies, nebulae, and far-off deep sky objects. For the price, you can get larger aperture telescopes, but without the quality GOTO mount.

Pros

  • Powerful with a 6-inch aperture
  • Quality computerized/GOTO mount
  • Wifi-enabled to be controlled via app on your phone
  • Good for astrophotography
  • Built-in battery rechargeable via USB, so no batteries or AC socket is needed
  • Relatively light and compact (in comparison to reflector models)

Cons

  • More expensive than manual mount models with the same (or larger) aperture
  • Need to add an equatorial wedge to progress to advanced astrophotography

Overall, this is a great mid-range computerized telescope with a good mount that’s easier to use than a manual equatorial one.

Key specifications

  • Type: Catadioptric (Schmidt-Cassegrain)
  • Aperture: 150 mm (6-inch)
  • Focal Length: 1500 mm (59 inches)
  • Focal Ratio: F/10
  • Weight: 31 lbs (14 kg)
  • Mount: GoTo (Computerized) Alt-Azimuth

Sky-Watcher 8″ Collapsible Dobsonian

Best 8-inch Computerized Dobsonian Telescope

This telescope makes for a fantastically powerful piece of equipment for the enthusiastic amateur astronomer.

With an 8-inch (200mm) aperture it provides serious viewing capabilities. It is on a Dobsonian mount which makes operation relatively easy (in comparison to an equatorial or traditional alt-az mount).

This model has a collapsible tube which reduces the size and weight and makes it easier to pack up, store and transport.

The same telescope is also available from Skywatcher in 10-inch and 12-inch aperture models. The larger the aperture the better the viewing, but also a higher cost, so see what your budget allows.

Skywatcher also offers the same telescope without computerized Go-To technology in-built, so you can choose whether you prefer manual or GoTo.

You’ll have to check prices as they vary but generally this will retail at a similar price to the Celestron Evolution above. The advantage of this Sky-Watcher model is the higher aperture, the disadvantage is the much larger and heavier gear which can be quite space-consuming and cumbersome.

Pros

  • High aperture at 8-inches
  • Quality GOTO dobsonian mount
  • Fast focal ratio for good astrophotography

Cons

  • Very large – it stands at over 4ft tall, so you should be sure that you have space for this at home (or wherever you will use it)
  • Very heavy
  • As a reflector telescope it needs to be collimated occasionally

Overall, this is a great value option if you have the space to store and use it.

Key specifications

  • Type: Dobsonian Reflector
  • Aperture: 203 mm (8-inch)
  • Focal Length: 1200 mm (47-inch)
  • Focal Ratio: F/5.9
  • Weight: 55 lb (25 kg)
  • Mount: Manual Alt-Azimuth (Dobsonian)

Celestron Nexstar 8SE

Best 8-inch GOTO Catadioptric Telescope

Celestron - NexStar 8SE Telescope - Computerized Telescope for Beginners and Advanced Users - Fully-Automated GoTo Mount - SkyAlign Technology - 40,000+ Celestial Objects - 8-Inch Primary Mirror

The Celestron Nexstar 8SE is aimed at all users – beginner, intermediate and advanced – who want to make the most of the serious astronomy viewing capacity.

The computerized telescope database can locate over 40,000 with great reliability.

It’s relatively small and light in comparison to similar telescopes in this bracket.

This model has a large 8-inch aperture. There is also a smaller (and cheaper) 6-inch version above, as well as 4-inch and 5-inch models.

Pros

  • Large 8-inch aperture
  • Great GOTO fork mount
  • Relatively compact design
  • Good for astrophotography

Cons

  • More expensive than the reflector or non-GOTO models
  • Heavy

Overall, this model is the most expensive but the compact design may suit many and the GOTO mount is fantastic.

Key specifications

  • Type: Catadioptric (Schmidt-Cassegrain)
  • Aperture: 203 mm (8-inch)
  • Focal Length: 2032 mm (80-inch)
  • Focal Ratio: F/10
  • Weight: 33 lb (15 kg)
  • Mount: GoTo (Computerized) Equatorial

What Makes a Good Intermediate Telescope?

More serious or ambitious telescope users will want a model that offers greater viewing possibilities while remaining reasonable in terms of cost.

For those who consider themselves in this bracket, reflectors and catadioptric telescopes make good options.

You can get more powerful viewing possibilities with these telescopes. Manual reflectors may take a bit more time and effort to learn and master but they can be perfect for the amateur enthusiast.

Alternatively, those with higher budgets may want to explore the very best options, namely GoTo catadioptric telescopes with large apertures.


What’s the Best Intermediate-Level Telescope?

In summary, if you are in the market for a 6 or 8-inch intermediate telescope then you should consider these options:

  1. The Orion AstroView 6 is great value and well-suited to astrophotography if you can get to grips with the equatorial mount
  2. The Sky-Watcher Heritage 130mm is fantastic value and the tabletop design is easier for many if you have a good surface to use it on
  3. The Celestron NexStar 6SE is a great modern computerized catadioptric that you can operate from your phone
  4. The Sky-Watcher 8-inch Dobsonian provides good value for an 8-inch GOTO telescope but is very large and heavy (for alternatives, see the Best 8-Inch Dobsonian Telescopes)
  5. The Celestron Nexstar 8SE is the most expensive but the compact design may suit many and the GOTO mount is fantastic

Let us know your views in the comments below and if there are other telescopes you’d recommend for intermediate users.

Those who are looking for their first telescope to buy should check out our guide to telescopes for beginners, which also has a detailed overview of what the different specifications of telescopes mean.

Also, see the best telescopes for astrophotography if you want to advance your deep-sky or planetary imaging, and, if you want to find the biggest telescopes, then see The Most Powerful Telescopes You Can Buy.

Anthony Robinson founded Skies & Scopes in 2017 and has been practicing and writing obsessively about astrophotography and astronomy ever since. He has written for Amateur Astrophotography and Dark Sky Travels magazines. Skies & Scopes has also been featured in Forbes, Digital Camera World, Peta Pixel, and many other publications.

.

Leave a Comment

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