Best 8 Inch Dobsonian Telescope [Buyers Guide]

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Are you looking for an 8 inch Dobsonian Telescope but are not sure which one is best or what to buy?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

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Today, I am going to be walking you through the top three choices to consider, along with giving you my personal favorite and recommendation.

Besides, an 8″ Dobsonian does not come cheap and you will likely use it to stargaze for quite some time so you want to ensure you get this decision right!

And as time is of the essence, I won’t be keeping you waiting.

Here are the top three picks.

Product
Editors Choice
Orion SkyQuest XT8 Plus Dobsonian
Also Great
Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian
Sky-Watcher Flextube 200 Collapsible Dobsonian
Orion SkyQuest XT8 Plus Dobsonian Reflector Telescope
Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope Kit
Sky-Watcher Flextube 200 Dobsonian 8-inch Collapsible Large Aperture Telescope – Portable, Easy to Use, Perfect for Beginners
Editors Choice
Product
Orion SkyQuest XT8 Plus Dobsonian
Orion SkyQuest XT8 Plus Dobsonian Reflector Telescope
Also Great
Product
Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian
Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope Kit
Product
Sky-Watcher Flextube 200 Collapsible Dobsonian
Sky-Watcher Flextube 200 Dobsonian 8-inch Collapsible Large Aperture Telescope – Portable, Easy to Use, Perfect for Beginners

Orion SkyQuest XT8 Plus Dobsonian

A redesign of the Orion XT8 Classic – the XT8 Plus provides all the additional features and accessories you need. It is the editor’s choice.

Orion SkyQuest XT8 Plus Dobsonian Reflector Telescope
  • Deluxe upgrade of our popular XT8 Classic Dobsonian boasts multiple key feature enhancements and additional included accessories
  • Eye-catching metallic blue optical tube rides on a redesigned base with adjustable altitude tension knobs
  • Convenient thumbscrew-adjustable secondary mirror for easy collimation without tools
  • Features a 2" dual-speed Crayford focuser with 11:1 fine-focus provides precise focus adjustments for sharp views
  • Includes a 2" 28mm DeepView eyepiece, 1.25" 10mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece, Shorty 2x Barlow lens, eyepiece rack, EZ Finder II reflex sight, collimation cap, DeepMap 600 Folding Star Chart and more

Specifications

Best for viewingBrighter deep sky
Best for imagingLunar & planetary
User-levelBeginner
Optical designReflector
Optical diameter203mm
Focal length1200mm
Focal ratiof/5.9
Optics typeParabolic
Glass materialLow thermal expansion borosilicate glass
EyepiecesSirius Plossl 10.0mm (1.25″),DeepView 28.0mm (2″)
Magnification with included eyepieces120x, 43x
Resolving power0.57arc*sec
Lowest useful magnification29x
Highest useful magnification300x

Pros

👍 Assembly instructions are easy to follow and you can have the telescope set up and ready in under an hour.

👍 Fine focusing and pushing to targets is easy and natural with the included 2″ dual-speed Crayford focuser.

👍 Features upgrades on collimating screws to make aligning the mirrors fast and easy without the need for collimating accessories

👍 2” 28mm eyepieces are provided for widefield 40x views. 120x and 240x possible with a Plosl or Barlow respectively.

Cons

👎 Takes some practice, as everything is upside down and backward in the eyepiece for Dobsonian telescopes.

👎 The focuser of the scope can grind with and does not always move smoothly. Replacement can resolve the issue.

👎 Despite tightening the altitude knob, the tube does drift down slightly if it’s at less than 45 degrees.

👎 You will need likely need a moon filter for observing the moon.

Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian

A best-selling, fan-favorite that still competes with other 8″ Dobsonians on the market. One to definitely consider.

Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope Kit
  • 203mm (8") aperture and 1200mm focal length Dobsonian reflector telescope allows you to reach deep into space for jaw-dropping images of the Moon, planets, and deep space objects too
  • Big-aperture Dobsonian telescope optics + point-and-view ease of use = out-of-this-world value
  • Included Orion 2x Shorty Barlow Lens doubles the magnification of virtually any 1.25" eyepiece, adding magnification options to your telescope
  • The included Beginning Stargazers Toolkit provides plentiful reference material for nighttime observing and a handy red LED light to see them with
  • An amazing value compared to purchasing each item separately

Specifications

Best for viewingBrighter deep sky
Best for imagingLunar & planetary
User-levelBeginner
Optical designReflector
Optical diameter203mm
Focal length1200mm
Focal ratiof/5.9
Optics typeParabolic
Glass materialLow thermal expansion borosilicate glass
EyepiecesSirius Plossl 25.0mm (1.25″)
Magnification with included eyepieces48x
Resolving power0.57arc*sec
Lowest useful magnification29x
Highest useful magnification300x

Pros

👍 Great starter package with a range of additional accessories.

👍 Several of the optical benefits of the XT8 Plus yet at a cheaper price point.

Cons

👎 The finderscope is inferior in the Classic Version.

👎 One less eyepiece than the XT8 Plus option.

Sky-Watcher Flextube 200 Collapsible Dobsonian

A slightly more expensive alternative to the Orion brand. If you can afford it, you should definitely check it out!

Sky-Watcher Flextube 200 Dobsonian 8-inch Collapsible Large Aperture Telescope – Portable, Easy to Use, Perfect for Beginners
  • LARGE APERTURE: Get a bright, bold viewing experience at a fraction of the cost of other optical designs.
  • INNOVATIVE COLLAPSIBLE DESIGN: Unique strut design allows for optical tube to collapse for ease of portability while keeping collimation.
  • PROPRIETARY TENSION CONTROL HANDLES: These patented handles allow for accurate movement without the need for perfect balance.
  • 94% REFLECTIVE MIRRORS: Fully multi-coated borosilicate primary and secondary mirrors deliver exceptional views.
  • TEFLON BEARINGS: Proprietary Teflon bearings ensure smooth azimuth movement.

Specifications

Best for viewingBrighter deep sky
Best for imagingLunar & planetary
User-levelBeginner
Optical designReflector
Optical diameter200mm
Focal length1200mm
Focal ratiof/5.9
Optics typeParabolic
Glass materialLow thermal expansion borosilicate glass
Eyepieces2x (1.25″): 10mm & 25mm
Magnification with included eyepieces48x, 120x
Lowest useful magnification29x
Highest useful magnification400x

Pros

👍 400x maximum magnification; 100x more than the Orion Skyquest Dobsonians.

👍 Collapsible design means it’s much easier to take down and set up while retaining collimation.

👍 Altitude movement is known for being smooth.

👍 The base is easy to assemble with tools provided.

👍 Components are of high quality and should last if well taken care of.

Cons

👎 Most expensive 8″ Dobsonian on the list.

👎 The azimuth movement is known for being sticky.

8 Inch Dobsonian Buyers Guide

When it comes to selecting a Dobsonian from the options or opposed to other types of telescopes, it’s important to know what to look for.

The tips below can help you come to a decision.

Whats The Difference Between A Dobsonian And A Cassegrain?

The main difference between a Dobsonian and a Cassegrain is the optical design. Cassegrains are more compact but are generally more expensive for it.

Find out more about the differences.

Whats The Difference Between A Dobsonian And A Newtonian

The main difference between a Dobsonian and a Newtonian is the telescope optics. Specifically the tubes and the mirrors.

Find out more about the differences.

What Makes A Great 8 Inch Dobsonain Telescope

Optical quality, ease of setup/use, and price are the main factors to consider when buying an 8″ Dobsonian.

Optical Quality

The best Dobsonians include parabolic primary mirrors that enable you to collect more light and observe fainter objects with greater crispness and clarity – even at higher magnifications.

Ease Of Use

Dobsonian telescopes were designed to be simple to use.

But not all brands and makes are.

Whether it is inferior assembly instructions or poor design – it’s important to find a manufacturer that focuses on ease of use.

Orion and Sky-Watcher and thankfully two of them.

Price

8 Inch Dobsonians can range quite dramatically in price, even if the spec if somewhat the same.

So, do consider your budget and how much you can set aside for this investment.

Also consider how long you expect the telescope to last you, and any additional accessories or extras that are provided in the cost.

For instance, it is often cheaper to buy a scope that comes with all the required accessories included – even if it is a little more upfront!

What Can I See With An 8 Inch Dobsonian Telescope?

Under the right viewing conditions, and assuming optimal setup, you should be able to observe both deep-sky objects and the intricacies of the solar system.

From a deep-sky perspective, expect to see: dust lanes of nebulas, the cores of globular star clusters, and subtle structures of fain clusters.

From a solar system perspective, expect to see: the moon and planets of the solar system, including Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars.

And with an 8″ you should see the planets in great clarity and the finer detail.

Users of 8″ Dobsonians also report seeing:

  • Jupiter’s bands,
  • Galilean moons.
  • Saturn’s rings with the Cassini division.
  • Crescent of predawn Venus.
  • Individual craters on the moon
  • Star clusters including M13 in Hercules
  • The Andromeda Galaxy (while faint, you can distinguish the denser core from the sparser edges).
  • Triangulum galaxy

And many, many more.

Does Celestron Make 8 Inch Dobsonian Telescopes?

Celestron does not make 8 inch Dobsonian telescopes. In fact, they do not manufacture many telescopes with a Dobsonian optical design.

Can You Take Photos With An 8″ Dobsonian Telescope?

You can take pictures through an 8″ Dobsonian telescope. To do so, you will need to carefully align the camera lens of your smartphone, or point-and-shoot camera, with the eyepiece.

Final Verdict

Dobsonian telescopes are made to be simple, easy to use, and gather as much light as possible – all while remaining an affordable choice.

If you opt for an 8″ Dobsonian, then you are really not going to go wrong.

That being said, there are certainly better manufactures, and telescopes in this category.

The three here today really do tick all the boxes.

Although if I had to choose one and one only – it would just have to be the Orion SkyQuest XT8 PLUS.

Besides, it’s literally an upgraded XT8 Classic (which is a much-loved fan-favorite among astronomers).

In fact, here is what Orion had to say on it:

“This deluxe upgrade of our stalwart 8″ reflector telescope boasts a redesigned Dobsonian base, adjustable altitude axis tension, a 2″ dual-speed Crayford focuser, and a host of other upgraded features and included accessories to enhance your observing experience.”

Plus it has an amazing blue design.

So that’s the one to get. And I would do so from Amazon if you are looking for the best price 👇