Ready to explore the heavens without emptying your wallet?

The Five Below Telescope offers a glimpse into the fascinating world of astronomy at a price point that’s hard to beat. Tailored for budding astronomers or as a whimsical gift for children, this telescope promises to open the door to the cosmos in a budget-friendly way. But what can you truly expect from such an affordable option?

Well, we’ll be going over:

  1. How does the optical quality of the Five Below telescope fare in providing clear and detailed views of celestial objects?
  2. Considering its affordability, what level of ease and comfort does this telescope offer to amateur stargazers and beginners?
  3. Does the Five Below telescope’s sturdiness and mount support provide a stable viewing experience, or are there limitations due to its budget nature?

Embarking on an astronomical journey doesn’t always mean you have to spend a fortune.

Let’s dive in.

Top 5 Below Telescopes

In my quest to explore the stars without straining my wallet, I’ve scoured the market for telescopes that offer a clear view of celestial wonders at a cost that won’t break the bank. The following selection not only meets my criteria for affordability but also stands out in terms of performance and user satisfaction. Whether you’re a budding astronomer or simply curious about the night sky, these telescopes promise a stellar viewing experience without a hefty investment.

Gaterda 70500 Telescope

I found the Gaterda 70500 to be a superb option for beginners looking for an easy-to-carry and solid starting telescope.


  • Remarkably portable with a lightweight frame and included backpack
  • Straightforward assembly without the need for additional tools
  • Durable, extendable tripod accommodating various user heights


  • Limited advanced features may not satisfy experienced stargazers
  • Possible stability issues under higher magnification
  • After-sales support might be necessary for technical questions or issues

Having spent some time observing the night sky with the Gaterda 70500, I can vouch for its thoughtful design tailored for new astronomers. The lightness of the telescope allowed me to easily transport it to a variety of viewing locations. Assembling the telescope was a breeze, foregoing the need for extra tools, which is often a hassle with more complex models.

The robust stainless steel tripod proved to be a dependable support during my observations. It offered three height adjustments, which worked well whether I was seated or standing. Beginners, especially children looking to explore astronomy, would find it highly accessible.

Nevertheless, while using the Gaterda 70500, I noted that pushing it to its higher magnification limits slightly compromised its stability. This is something to keep in mind if you plan on observing celestial objects that require higher magnification. Additionally, while the overall quality is well-suited for its audience, seasoned hobbyists might miss the depth of advanced features found in pricier scopes.

In my dialogue with Gaterda’s customer service regarding an inquiry I had, I found them responsive and helpful. Quick and efficient support can be indispensable, particularly if you encounter any parts of the user manual that may require clarification.

Celestron NexStar 5SE Telescope

As an avid stargazer, I believe the Celestron NexStar 5SE is a stellar option for anyone seeking a blend of sophistication and user-friendliness in a telescope.


  • Remarkable clarity and details on planetary and lunar surfaces due to quality optics
  • GoTo mount feature is a game-changer for night-sky explorations, offering effortless tracking
  • Assembly and disassembly are straightforward, making it highly portable for various observation locations


  • Heavier than expected, which could be a hassle for frequent transport
  • Initial setup might be intimidating for complete astronomy newbies
  • The cost may be slightly higher compared to other entry-level options

My recent outing with the Celestron NexStar 5SE was nothing short of impressive. The sky alignment procedure amazed me with its simplicity, and within minutes, I was tracking celestial bodies with great precision. The view of Jupiter’s cloud bands was incredibly detailed, and Saturn’s rings were a sight to behold, even more so with an upgraded eyepiece. The moon’s craters and ridges were rendered with an astonishment-inducing clarity.

Portability can often be a concern with telescopes, but the NexStar 5SE’s design addresses this well. Despite its solid construction, it was lighter than I anticipated and the separate components fit neatly in my car. Travelling to a darker location was worth the minor inconvenience to witness the deep sky objects shine through the eyepiece.

A small note for potential users: give yourself time to get acquainted with the telescope’s features. My first setup took a bit longer as I familiarized myself with the functions. However, once I got the hang of it, the experience was incredibly rewarding. The motorized tracking system is remarkably accurate, guiding you seamlessly through the stars. The durable tripod provided a stable base, banishing any worries about vibrations disrupting my cosmic journey.

In all, the Celestron NexStar 5SE delivers an engaging and enriching stargazing experience, perfect for those who are serious about delving into astronomy. Its ease of use, combined with the potential for growth in the hobby, makes it a compelling choice despite the slightly higher investment compared to other telescopes in this category.

Celestron NexStar 130SLT

After spending quality time stargazing with the Celestron NexStar 130SLT, I find it a rewarding investment for both budding astronomers and seasoned sky watchers alike.


  • Significant light-gathering capacity for bright, clear images
  • Computerized hand control for easy navigation of the night sky
  • Compact and easily portable for adventures beyond the city lights


  • Initial setup can be tricky for astronomy newcomers
  • Some additional accessories may be required for optimal use
  • Battery life can be limiting for extended observation sessions

The moment I unpacked the Celestron NexStar 130SLT, its compact design impressed me. It’s remarkably easy to carry around, which makes it my go-to companion for trips to dark sky parks. Setting up the tripod and getting the telescope aligned took me just a few minutes, and with Celestron’s SkyAlign technology, alignment was a breeze; just point it at three bright objects and you are ready to explore the universe.

Peering through the eyepiece for the first time, the images that greeted me were striking. The light this telescope captures brings distant stars and galaxies into view with impressive clarity. Tracking celestial objects across the sky with the computerized control system felt like having my personal navigator, guiding me through the cosmos with precision.

I used it during a recent camping trip and the 130mm aperture of the Celestron NexStar 130SLT gathered enough light to reveal the mesmerizing details of the moon’s surface, the rings of Saturn, and even the Great Nebula in Orion. However, during a long night of stargazing, I did notice the batteries started to dwindle, which is a reminder to always carry spares or invest in a power tank for uninterrupted observation.

AstroMaster 70AZ

After a thorough test of the AstroMaster 70AZ, I’m confident that this telescope is an excellent entry-level choice for anyone eager to explore the stars with ease and clarity.


  • Easy to set up without any tools
  • Versatile for both celestial and terrestrial viewing
  • Sturdy tripod and clear optics for stable, bright images


  • Red dot finder scope quality could be improved
  • Movement can be stiff, making fine adjustments tricky for beginners
  • Some accessories may need an upgrade for serious stargazers

Having spent an evening stargazing with the Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ Refractor Telescope, I noticed right off the bat how straightforward the set-up process was. There’s a genuine satisfaction in being able to assemble a telescope without reaching for a toolbox, and getting it ready for a night’s observation in mere minutes is a definite plus.

Using it, I found the 70mm optics to be particularly impressive, offering sharp, clear views of the night sky. I started with the lunar surface and was thrilled to see the craters and details in stunning clarity. It didn’t stop there though; I caught glimpses of Jupiter and Saturn that were nothing short of breathtaking for an entry-level scope.

While the overall build quality of the tripod and optics is solid—providing the necessary stability for a clear viewing experience—I did notice that making precise movements to track celestial bodies was a bit more challenging than I’d like. The stiffness in the pan handle Alt-Az control requires a light touch to avoid shaking the view.

Additionally, while the red dot finder scope helps aim the telescope, it lacks the precision I’ve seen in more high-end scopes. For newcomers, it may require a bit of a learning curve and possibly a future upgrade. However, for a telescope in this price bracket, the AstroMaster 70AZ still manages to deliver a star-gazing experience that can ignite a lifelong passion for astronomy.

HUTACT Beginner’s Telescope

I believe this HUTACT Telescope provides an enjoyable entry into astronomy, offering a balance between simplicity and clarity for beginners.


  • Assembly is straightforward with clear instructions, making it accessible even for novices.
  • The large 60mm aperture allows for clear, bright images that enhance the viewing experience.
  • Comes with multiple eyepieces and a Barlow lens for a versatile range of magnifications.


  • The lightweight build can compromise stability, affecting the viewing experience.
  • Some users may experience difficulty with the phone adapter and finderscope’s sensitivity.
  • Manual adjustments can be less precise than desired, with some play in the mount.

Unboxing the HUTACT Telescope, set-up was a breeze – the guidelines were clear and I had it ready for viewing in no time. My first impression was positive; the telescope has a decent-quality finish and the components snap together without a hitch. Having a full set of eyepieces included is a significant plus, which saved me from extra expense and hassle.

Viewing through the 60mm objective lens was a treat – the images appeared bright and clearer than I anticipated for a scope of this level. The Barlow lens was the icing on the cake, giving me the chance to delve deeper into the stars with increased magnification. I found that for a beginner’s telescope, it goes beyond just showing specks of light, offering a glimpse at the cratered surface of the moon and the rings of Saturn.

The tripod is adjustable, and while it’s sufficient to start with, stability can be an issue. It’s light enough to move around but could do with a bit more heft to prevent shaking with the slightest touch. I did have some trouble with the phone adapter; aligning my phone with the telescope’s eyepiece took a bit of fiddling. Once in place, capturing pictures was manageable, but this could be an area for improvement.

Overall, I see this HUTACT telescope as an appropriate start for anyone curious about the night sky. Beginners, particularly kids with a budding interest in astronomy, will find it a gateway to the wonders above. Its ease of use combined with the quality of images it produces can truly make an evening of stargazing a magical experience.

Buying Guide

Understanding Telescope Types

When selecting a telescope, I first consider the type. There are three main designs:

  • Refractors: Use lenses to gather light.
  • Reflectors: Use mirrors to collect and focus light.
  • Compound (Catadioptric): Combine lenses and mirrors for compact size.

Each type has its pros and cons depending on my intended use, whether it’s deep-sky viewing, planetary, or terrestrial.

Aperture Size

The aperture is key to a telescope’s performance. The bigger the aperture, the more light it gathers, allowing me to see fainter objects.

Aperture Size (inches)Recommendations
2.4 – 3.9Suitable for beginners and lunar observing
4 – 5.9Good for planetary and deep-sky
6 or largerHeavy and may require a permanent mount

Magnification and Eyepieces

I ensure that the magnification power is sufficient but not at the expense of image clarity. A rule of thumb is 50 times the aperture in inches. Telescopes usually come with one or two eyepieces; higher magnifications are suitable for planetary details, while lower ones are better for nebulae and galaxies.

Mount Type

I pay attention to the mount, as stability is crucial for a good stargazing experience. There are two main types:

  • Altazimuth: Simple and intuitive, best for beginners.
  • Equatorial: For advanced users, allows me to follow celestial objects more easily as Earth rotates.

Portability and Ease of Use

If I plan to transport my telescope frequently, I opt for a model that’s compact and lightweight. The complexity of setup is also a consideration—telescopes with a simple assembly are more user-friendly, especially for beginners.


My budget influences the features and types of telescopes I can afford, so I balance cost against the desired specifications, ensuring I get the best value for my money without compromising on essential features.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, I address common inquiries potential buyers have regarding the performance and features of budget-friendly telescopes, with specific focus on the Five Below model.

What should one realistically expect from a budget-friendly telescope in terms of performance?

A budget-friendly telescope, like those offered by Five Below, are designed for beginners and generally offer adequate capabilities for casual stargazing. I can typically expect clear views of the moon and some planets, but the detail and clarity are lower compared to higher-end telescopes.

How does the quality of a Five Below telescope compare to more expensive models?

The quality of a Five Below telescope is modest when measured against more expensive models. It has basic optics and lacks the advanced features and fine-tuning capabilities that can enhance astronomical observation.

Can users of entry-level telescopes like those from Five Below observe celestial bodies like planets and nebulae?

Yes, the users can observe celestial bodies like planets and some nebulae with a Five Below telescope, but the views are often limited. I should not expect the same level of detail as seen through more sophisticated equipment.

What are some of the common limitations or drawbacks of purchasing an inexpensive telescope?

Inexpensive telescopes like those from Five Below often have smaller apertures, lower-quality optics, and less stable mounts, which can limit what I can see and the overall experience.

What essential features should be considered before buying an entry-level telescope?

Before purchasing an entry-level telescope, I consider the aperture size, the type of mount, ease of use, and the included accessories. An understanding of these features helps gauge how the telescope will perform under various conditions.

What are some tips for enhancing the viewing experience with a budget telescope?

To enhance viewing with a budget telescope, I recommend using it in areas with dark skies away from light pollution, ensuring the telescope is properly collimated, and being patient to allow my eyes to adapt to the dark for improved visual observation.

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