Best intermediate telescopes [2021]

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If you are looking for an intermediate-level telescope that you can push for great night sky viewing capabilities then we’ve picked out a few great options for you here.

See the at-a-glance table below:

Table could not be displayed.

Please read the detailed reviews below for more information about each model.

What are the best intermediate telescopes?

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.

Below we recommend the best four best intermediate telescopes based on this logic.

1. Celestron NexStar Evolution 9.25″ Schmidt-Cassegrain

This telescope offers great viewing capabilities combined with the GoTo ease-of-use that many will be looking for. It is of a good, manageable size and not too heavy.

It has a whopping 9.25-inch aperture. This will open up many more viewing opportunities and provide brighter, clearer viewing of galaxies, nebulae, and far-off deep sky objects.

This is a computerized telescope that can be operated via software that comes with it. There is always some work required it getting this set up right, but this is about as easy as it gets.

Overall, the main pros are the combination of portability, ease-of-use and the viewing opportunities it provides.

The main cons are the higher budget necessary and that extras are needed for certain things (for instance, an adapter if you want to attach a camera for astrophotography).

Accessories included are two eyepieces (40mm & 13mm) and a red dot finderscope.

Key specifications:

  • Telescope type: Catadioptric (Schmidt-Cassegrain)
  • Aperture: 235 mm (9.25-inch)
  • Mount: GoTo (Computerized) Alt-Azimuth

2. Sky-Watcher 8″ Collapsible Dobsonian

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

With 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. Explore the options via the links provided.

Key specifications:

  • Telescope type: Reflector
  • Aperture: 203 mm (8-inch)
  • Mount: Manual Alt-Azimuth (Dobsonian)

3. Meade LX200-ACF 10-Inch (f/10)

The Meade LX200 is aimed at intermediate and advanced users who will be able to make the most of the serious astronomy viewing capacity that it provides.

The computerized telescope database can locate over 145,000 with great reliability. Alignment is taken care of via a GPS receiver.

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

This model has a large 10-inch aperture. There is also a slightly smaller 8-inch aperture version, as well as even more powerful 12-inch and 14-inch versions.

The 14-inch version is possibly the best telescope in the world for an amateur astronomer (at least before you start venturing into specialist, custom-built models).

Key specifications:

  • Telescope type: Catadioptric (Advanced Coma-Free)
  • Aperture: 254 mm (10-inch)
  • Mount: GoTo (Computerized) Equatorial
Orion SpaceProbe Telescope
Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector

4. Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector

This telescope is the budget option on this list but offers some real bang-for-your-buck. The 5-inch aperture is powerful enough for great viewing of objects in the night sky

It’s a manual reflector which, as mentioned above, can take more time and effort to master. However, for those that are committed, this can be the best value way of getting a powerful scope withough spending the same amount as a GoTo catadioptric.

It comes with an equatorial mount. Again, these are slightly harder to use than a Dobsonian like the Sky-Watcher model above, but can work better for photography as they can offer a smooth movement with the rotation of the earth, as opposed to the up-down, left-right movement of an altazimuth mount.

The hefty light-gathering capabilities mean that it is heavy and bulky, so be sure you have somewhere to keep it and that you’re ok with moving something around of this shape and size to use.

Key specifications:

  • Telescope type: Reflector
  • Aperture: 130 mm (5.1 inch)
  • Mount: (Manual) Equatorial

What’s your view

Have you found the right telescope for you and got all the information you need from this article?

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.


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