Best Handheld Telescope

Have you ever been in any situation where you just needed that extra range to capture a rare bird? Or any scenario in which you’re not quite sure whether it’s an American Tree Sparrow or a Swamp Sparrow. For real, those little details are tough to notice, aren’t they? For your assistance, a handheld telescope solves the issues.

Best handheld telescopes are a smaller version of traditional ones. You can use this to catch that glimpse of the bird that you’ve been searching for for years now. How about hunting and sports? They will do just fine. Moreover, you can use them with your smartphone to take telephotos.

These half-sized binoculars do come in handy. However, not all are good. You will find cheap telescopes for sale in the market in high demand. These won’t do justice; rather, they will switch your mood from Saturday to Monday. Hence, we made this list of the best handheld telescopes for you. You can rely on these for great performance, max magnifying power, and the best picture quality around.

Our Favorite Handheld Telescope

Last update on 2021-09-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Top 10 Best Handheld Telescope Reviews- 2021

1. Feemic Monocular Telescope High Power

Monocular Telescope High Power 8x42 Monoculars Scope Compact Portable Waterproof Fogproof Shockproof...

The Feemic Monocular Telescope is the best handheld telescope. High Power 8×42 is an excellent magnifier in the 1000 yards range. It makes details as vivid as they deserve by using the BAK-4 Green Film Prism. Furthermore, this compact is much easier to use with just one hand, thanks to its added strap. Also, no matter where you live, its all-weather capability will ensure performance and convenience.

Features:

Magnification: This handheld telescope comes with 8x magnification. This additional zoom level is enough to have a viewpoint of around 1000 feet, which is quite a lot. Guess this time; you will understand whether it’s a crow or a cuckoo.

Optic: This has a high-quality lens for sure. The BAK-4 Green Film Prism is highly regarded for the light transmission it gives to its users. Besides, for your convenience, the lens is fully multi-coated. This is why you will have a 99.9% light transmittance out of this telescope. This type of configuration can offer you much better viewing – even at night.

Convenience: Made from rubber-coated metal, this telescope is small and light. While coming with a strong strap on the side for easy one-handed use, there is also a tripod for a much stable view. Besides, no worries if the weather is rainy or cold. It’s waterproof and fog proof. You can also take it to a dessert, as it is dustproof as well.

Specifications:

Build MaterialRubber Coated Metal
Magnification8x
Focus ModeManual
Field of View360 ft. /1000 yds.
Objective Lens Diameter42 mm
WaterproofYes
Size5.7 x 1.9 Inch
Weight10.05 oz.

Pros:

  • Compact & lightweight
  • Easy to carry
  • Waterproof, fog proof and dustproof
  • Rubber coating makes it more grippy and durable
  • Decent low light performance

Cons:

  • Not very steady

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2. Gosky 12×55 High Definition Monocular Telescope and Quick Phone Holder

Gosky 12x55 High Definition Monocular Telescope and Quick Phone Holder-2020 Waterproof Monocular...

The Gosky 12×55 High Definition Monocular Telescope is a great choice for your bird watching and outdoor hunting fantasies. With its 12x magnification, you will see the furthest corners with ease. It’s like an additional eye for you to look at distance. Equipped with a large prism and a high-definition lens, this offers a clear and detailed view, excellent for outdoor activities.

Features:

Magnification: It has a magnification range of 12x. Also, its 55m lens diameter will give a greater range of view, 325 feet to be exact. If watching rare birds is something you care for, this will be a great addition to your set.

Optic: The optic that comes with this telescope is remarkable. With the benefits of BAK-4 Prism and the fully Multi-coated Green objective lens, this telescope performs at its best. If you want clear and details to view at a distance, this telescope is made to confirm that.

Convenience: It comes with several convenience features. A hand strap is added for easy one-handed operation. Also, it comes with a tripod so that you keep taking pictures and videos most steadily. Use it for any weather condition, as it is totally sealed and filled with nitrogen, which means water and fog will not cause problems. Besides, it is compatible with most of the smartphones available now.

Specifications:

Build MaterialRubber Armor
Magnification12x
Focus SystemCenter
Field of View328 ft. /1000 yds.
Objective Lens Diameter55 mm
WaterproofYes
Size5.51 x 2.09 Inch
Weight15.85 oz.

 Pros:

  • Has great eye relief
  • A versatile option
  • Provides an excellent view
  • Comes with a phone mount
  • Good value for money

Cons:

  • The build quality of the mount can be better

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3. VIVREAL Monocular Telescope – 12X42 High Power

Monocular Telescope - 12X42 High Power Monocular for Bird Watching, IPX7 Waterproof HD Monocular...

The VIVREAL Monocular Telescope – 12X42 High Power is an excellent option for traveling. This tiny and easy portable telescope can be carried easily inside your pocket while hiking. Despite being small, it packs great specs such as 12x and a 42 mm objective lens diameter. With high contrast and vivid picture quality, you will surely fall in love with the performance of this one-eyed binocular.

Features:

Resolution: This telescope offers excellent resolution due to its high-quality optics. Thanks to its fully multi-coated lens as well as BAK-4 prism, you will experience exceptional contrast and color accuracy. Moreover, Vivreal ensures your light transmission will be up to 99.5%.

Single Hand Use: There is no need to carry a bigger and bulkier telescope as this offers such performance in a much smaller structure. Easy to use with just one hand, you can even adjust the focus with the same hand. Weighing only 9.76 ounces, this is, in fact, one of the lightest telescopes we’ve ever tested.

Weatherproofing: This comes with IPX7 waterproofing. No matter how much pouring rain you’re in, this telescope will perform as neatly as you want. Also, Vivreal filled this will nitrogen so that no fog can blur the lens. There’s an O-ring seal inside this telescope which prevents moisture, dust, and dirt.

Specifications:

Build MaterialRubber Armor
Magnification12x
Focus SystemManual
Field of View360 ft. /1000 yds.
Objective Lens Diameter42 mm
WaterproofYes
Size6.4 x 2.4 Inch
Weight9.76 oz.

 Pros:

  • Excellent one-handed operation
  • Decent optics
  • Exceptional weatherproofing capabilities
  • Compact and easy to carry
  • Low-light-level night vision included

Cons:

  • Unimpressive magnification

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4. ROXANT Grip Scope High Definition Wide View Monocular

Authentic ROXANT Grip Scope High Definition Wide View Monocular - with Retractable Eyepiece and...

Roxant has ensured something that most other manufacturers did not, which is a much steady hold. The ROXANT Grip Scope High Definition Wide View Monocular provides an excellent steady grip, even with one hand. Besides, its all-glass lens is considered to be a great performer in the case of picture quality and light transmission. Moreover, its wide view won’t let you miss any of the animals and birds or sceneries.

Features:

Easy Carry: At being only 7.8 ounces, this telescope is simply too easy to carry around. Highly recommended for traveling with, this will give you a larger field of view without being too bulky. Besides, the included belt loop and neck strap just add a level of convenience while traveling across.

No-Slip Grip: The texture of this telescope is excellent. It has a molded grip that offers no-slip and comfort. It means you can easily carry around with one hand without the risk of falling. Even if it falls, this compact magnifier is robust enough to withstand the impact easily.

Picture Quality: You’ll have an excellent viewing experience with this telescope. It is equipped with premium optical glass with a full-multi coating and takes high performance to a newer level. Furthermore, unlike most other 10x or 12x magnifiers, this comes with a much subtle 6x as this is most practical in everyday scenarios. Its retractable eyepiece will also provide an excellent convenience to you if you use glasses.

Specifications:

Build MaterialNo-Slip Mold
Magnification6x
PrismBAK-4
Lens CoatingFully Multi-Coated
Objective Lens Diameter30 mm
WaterproofYes
Size5.5 x 2 Inch
Weight7.8 oz.

Pros:

  • Small and lightweight; very easy to carry
  • Ideal option if you travel a lot
  • No-slip body textures offer excellent grip
  • Crisp and clear picture quality
  • Comparatively much stable than other telescopes

Cons:

  • Lower magnification means not so good for greater distance

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5. Pankoo 16X52 Monocular Telescope

Pankoo 16X52 Monocular Telescope, High Power Prism Compact Monoculars for Adults Kids HD Monocular...

Experience magnification as much as 16x with the Pankoo 16X52 Monocular Telescope. This telescope provides an excellent range within a larger but easy to carry form factor. And how about the picture quality? You can expect an outstanding resolution from this magnifier, even in all weather conditions. Perfect for outdoor activities, you can use this for travel, wildlife hunting, or sports. Versatile in nature, this telescope will bring everything to your near.

Features:

Magnification: M of the handheld telescopes are equipped with 6x-12x magnification. However, this took that to a new level, with its 16x magnification capability, nearly as much as any reflector telescope. Also, it’s 25 mm objective lens diameter offers an enhanced field of view. Now at outdoors, you won’t have much problem locating things at a distance with this device.

Ease of Use: Using this telescope is rather effortless. Even with just one hand, you can easily operate this compact magnifier. It has a focus adjusting rig on its body which you can easily twist with one hand; no hassle. Additionally, carrying this is much convenient too. Due to its smaller size, you can carry this within your pocket.  In fact, this is a great telescope for beginners.

Optic: The Pankoo 16X52 Monocular Telescope comes with one of the best optics out there. The optic is featured with BAK – 4 prisms as well as Full Multi-Coating. This means light transmission along with high-quality pictures will be there to give you the best performance. Not just that, but also its ability to increase and decrease light ensures much accurate observation of the movements at a distance.

Specifications:

Magnification16x
PrismBAK-4
Lens CoatingFully Multi-Coated
Objective Lens Diameter52 mm
WaterproofYes
Size13.58 x 13.58 Inch
Weight9.12 oz.

Pros:

  • High magnification
  • Amazing picture quality
  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Efficient performance
  • Good quality in affordable price

Cons:

  • Focusing mechanism could be better

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6. SYLVAWOLVES Telescope 40×60 Monocular with Smartphone Holder & Tripod

SFABF Monocular Telescope,40x60 Monocular with Smartphone Holder & Tripod Night Vision Waterproof...

The SYLVAWOLVES Telescope 40×60 Monocular is an exception compared to its competitors. It has a dedicated function for focusing, which helps it to precisely adjust the objective lens. Furthermore, it has some of the highest level magnification out there; 40x!!

Features:

Magnification: At 40x, this telescope is nearly hard to beat when it comes to magnification. You can even take a good and detailed picture of a moon with that such power. This can be a great alternative to any refractor telescope. Also, with the addition of a 60 mm objective lens diameter, you will get a much wider field of view during an ensured high picture quality.

Focus: Most modular telescopes offer a manual focusing system. However, it does not. It has a function that can adjust the focus precisely, without any hassle. This makes one-handed operation even easier, as there is no movement for focus adjustment is required. This function also can be used to adjust the sharpness, allowing you a better quality image.

Weatherproof: Made from durable and premium materials, this telescope is waterproof and dustproof. Also, don’t be anxious with any impact as it comes with a much grippy body, ensuring no slip. So using it in wet conditions where random drizzle may occur, it won’t be damaged.

Specifications:

Magnification40x
Objective Lens Diameter60 mm
PrismBAK-4
Field of View284ft. /1000yds.
Low Light Night VisionYes
WaterproofYes
Size6.77 x 3.82 Inch
Weight15.2 oz.

Pros:

  • Good value for money
  • No-slip body construction
  • Water, dust, and shockproof
  • Features focusing functionalities
  • Convenient to use

Cons:

  • Not exactly 40x magnification

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7. Evershop Monocular Telescope with Low Night Vision

12x50 Monocular Telescope Evershop High Power Prism Handheld Telescope Outdoorsman Gifts with...

If you’re searching for something to use in the dark, take the Evershop Monocular Telescope is for you. Featuring low night vision, this will give you a better vision in a much darker situation. Because of this, this is an excellent option for you if you’re the one who only scavenges at night. Also, its 12x magnification, as well as much robust body, will give as much as better performance in any other lighting conditions as well.

Features:

Night Vision: Even though most other telescopes claim to have a built-in night vision, they perform poorly. This breaks the scenario. With a much better night vision performance, you will feel the privilege of using this when will notice the performance rise. Additionally, its BAK-4 Prism and FMC lens assist a lot to produce a better quality image.

Compatible: Most monocular telescopes can be used with smartphones. This comes with a tripod and a smartphone adapter to seamlessly perform with your smartphone. Designed to be compatible with the most popular smartphones, you don’t have to worry about adjustments.

Shockproof: Featuring a solid framework, this telescope withstands shock like a pro. How? It’s molded with shock-absorbing non-slip rubber armor, which means impacts won’t put a dent on this. Also, non-slip means it will have a greater grip; falling from the hand will not occur often.

Specifications:

Magnification12x
Objective Lens Diameter50 mm
PrismBAK-4
Field of View1093 yds.
Low Light Night VisionYes
WaterproofYes
Size6.10 x2.75 Inch
Weight10.93 oz.

Pros:

  • Excellent low light performance
  • Focusing is easy and simple
  • Can also be used as a telephoto lens
  • Comes with a tripod for convenience
  • Very good performance

Cons:

  • Wrist strap could be better

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8. Captains 6″ Brass Handheld Mini Telescope

Captains 6' Brass Handheld Mini Telescope with Wooden Box Nautical Collectibles

Elegant and stylish, that’s how it can be described the Captain’s 6” Brass Handheld Mini Telescope. Featuring a very traditional design, this telescope is one of the most aesthetically pleasing options on this list of best handheld telescopes. Apart from the looks, performance is not too far behind either.

Features:

Design: At first glance, what you’re going to notice is how pretty it looks. Body made from brass metal, its attractive color scheme just takes the attention of anyone’s eyes. In just a minute, you will fall in love with the design of this beautifully crafted piece of art. Additionally, its high-quality wooden box just adds a flare, just like a cherry on the top.

Retractable: Unlike most other telescopes, this can be retractable to a much smaller structure. This makes it carry easily and securely. When needed, just pull this out of the box and bring it to the actual size to operate. When the functions are done, retract to a smaller form factor and carry easily; simple.

Focus: the focusing on this telescope is nothing like any other handheld telescope. All you need to do is push its eyepiece either in or out, so adjust the focus to have a clearer viewpoint. This is not as functional as other options on this list; however, the looks of it will steal a lot of attention.

Specifications:

Build MaterialBrass Metal
StyleTraditional
Size6 Inch
Weight7.2 oz.
Box MaterialWood

 Pros:

  • Extremely beautiful design
  • High-quality brass metal build
  • Comes with a wooden box
  • Can be retractable
  • Performs great

Cons:

  • No compatible with any smartphone
  • Not very versatile

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9. Nagina International Handheld Brass Telescope

Miniature Beautiful Handcrafted Handheld Brass Telescope with Rosewood Box - Pirate Navigation Gifts...

Another handcrafted masterpiece to please your eyes, the Nagina International Handheld Brass Telescope is a showstopper. Made with 4 brass tubes, this telescope with around 6 inches when it’s not retracted. Besides, it even comes in a rosewood box to enhance the aesthetics to another level.

Features:

Build: Just like the previous telescope on this list, this is much of a showpiece. Its polished constructions will attract even the most neglected eyes. Furthermore, there’s s a touch of leather on one of the brass tubes to make it more elegant.

Box: It comes in a much premium rosewood box. The box is a precisely inlaid brass line that can be noticed when opened. This box will keep the piece secured and safe, just like its solid brass cap. The cap will ensure the lens remains untouched and fully functional. Besides, the box also has an anchor logo on top of it, made from brass.

Convenience: This won’t be performing as well as most other options on our list. Maybe it isn’t meant to be used in that way. Maybe you require this for decoration in your apartment, or perhaps for educating your children. Even this 6-inch beautiful piece of art can be a great gift to your loved ones.

Specifications:

Build MaterialPolished Brass Metal
StylePirate
Size6 Inch
Weight7.4 oz.
Box MaterialRosewood

Pros:

  • Made from quality materials
  • Very beautiful design
  • Bang for buck
  • Comes in a well-made box
  • Ideal for kids

Cons:

  • Not as functional as a monocular telescope

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10. Aubric Retro Pirate Telescope

Retro Pirate Telescope Zoomable 25x30 Spyglass Portable Collapsible Handheld Telescope Vintage...

Are you a retro outdoor enthusiast? Then Rubricbric Retro Pirate Telescope is a steal for you. Boasting a vintage design, this telescope even comes with a retro-style compass. This will get you back to the fifteen centuries. What is more fun is that the telescope is retractable, making it very easy to carry around. Also, with 25x magnification, you’re well sorted.

Features:

Design: The design of this telescope will bring you back to the days of sailors. With the additional benefit of a compact that looks like coming from the same era, you’ll be the captain of your own ship. Moreover, this is retractable; you can easily extend this 5.3-inch magnifier into a 13-inch magnifier. Made from durable materials, it is also waterproof and quite good at being resistant to impacts. Plus, this thing glows in the dark!

Magnification: Although telescopes with such design are mainly made for decoration, this is an exception. This features 25x magnifica, giving you a vision range up to 1000 yards; clear and crisp. Also, Aubric says, even at the longest range, details will be optimum.

Optics: This telescope features a BAK-4 prism along with a fully multi-coated lens. This means this telescope means business. BAK-4 is a common feature on most high-quality telescopes because of its excellent light transmission. Just be sure you will enjoy an enhanced visionary with this piece of art.

Specification:

Magnification25x
Objective Lens Diameter30 mm
FocusManual
PrismBAK-4
Field of View1000 yds.
WaterproofYes
CompassIncluded
Size5.3 Inches (Collapsed); 13 Inches (extended)
Weight8.8 oz.

Pros:

  • Retro Design
  • Excellent magnification
  • Durable build
  • Retracts to a very compact size
  • Comes with a compass

Cons:

  • Compass is not that good

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Buying Guide Best Handheld Telescope

best handheld telescope

Buying a handheld telescope is not that tough. However, the market will be filled with nasty bad products with such highly rated fake user reviews. So while buying, it’s always ideal for checking for features to have the best experience.

The features you should be looking for are discussed in our telescope buying guide below;

  • Magnification: Magnification is the key element you are looking for in a telescope. Always look for any telescope that has a high and adjustable magnification. Also, don’t fall under fake advertisements of very high magnification at a cheap price. Any magnification at the range of 6x – 16x is considered to be ideal.
  • Optics: A decent handheld telescope comes with a decent lens; simple. Look for those optics which has a BAK-4 Prism. This will ensure a very high light transmittance, ensuring better visibility. Additionally, check whether the lens is fully multicoated or not, so that you can see with much clearer details.
  • Portability: Handheld telescopes are meant to be portable. A good quality telescope should be lightweight, compact and also, should come with a wrist strap for easy carry. Some of the high-quality telescopes even come with a tripod as well as a phone mount. These make the whole experience even more comfortable.
  • Durability: In most cases, you’re going to use the telescope outdoors. A durable build is a must in that case, as accidents are inevitable. Make sure your telescope has a rubber armor to absorb shock and has a better grip. Metal build telescopes are recommended, however, they do weight more.
  • Waterproofing: Rain and outdoor activities has a good relationship. However, this is not good for us, especially for the electronics we use. Seek for any telescope that is resistant to water or dust. This way you can use your telescope is any weather and have a tension free experience.

What is a handheld telescope called?

best handheld telescope

Even though most of us know a handheld telescope only as a handheld telescope, they have few other popular names due to their type, functionalities, and features. Some of them are going to be discussed in our telescope reviews. Let’s check what else they are called;

  • Spyglass: Handheld telescopes have another popular term, Known as Spyglass. They got that name from being small, lightweight and being easy to be concealed, which is very logical. Imagine having such a small telescope inside your pocket that you can use to spy on others, from a distance.

Better not to disturb someone else’s privacy, though. Spying on animals is rather fun. Be a spy of your favorite deer or bird and keep an eye with your spyglass; sounds thrilling, doesn’t it?

  • Monocular Telescope: Another additional term of handheld telescopes is monocular telescope. Why? This telescopes refract light through multiple lenses as well as prism. Though such equipment, a magnification of the image is shown on the other end, and therefore you can see the object in distance with clearer details.

With the help of the prism, a higher amount of light is transmitted through the lenses. This way, it becomes much easier to see the object at a greater distance, clearly.

  • Captain’s Scope: Even though not many people use this term, it is present. But why captain’s Scope? Telescopes are mainly used by the navy captains to see ships and land in distance. Thus the naming.

Most of the captain’s scopes are retractable, just like some of the options on our list of best handheld telescopes. These scopes can be collapsed small for easy carry. When needed, just extend, and a full fictional telescope will emerge.

There might be some other terms used for handheld telescopes, but these are the most known ones out there.

How do you use a handheld telescope?

best handheld telescope

Handheld telescopes can be found in different types. Depending on the type of telescope, the user can differ. We are going to cover the modern type of telescope, the monocular telescopes. These types of telescopes are mostly used with a smartphone.

  • Take the caps off from both the objective lenses.
  • Mount the telescope on your smartphone using the smartphone mount.
  • Tighten the screws.
  • Adjust the adjustable eyepiece according to your comfort. If you wear glasses, try to set the eyepiece at a distance as your glasses may cause trouble. Some other telescopes do come with a fixed eyepiece, which cannot be adjusted.
  • Adjust the focus. You will notice a barrel to adjust the focus of your telescope. The focus adjuster can be a ring or a thumb twist, based on the manufacturer. Turning the focus adjuster, you will be the adjustment of the focus through the viewfinder. Some high-quality telescopes do come with focus functions to assist you.
  • Lock the focus when the preferred object in distance is clear and crisp.
  • Take the picture or see through your telescope to see at a much greater distance.

FAQ

How far can a handheld telescope see?

The most distance a handheld telescope will cover is roughly 1000 yards which are equivalent to 914.4 meters. Most of the handheld telescopes come with a magnification power of 10x-12x.

However, there are some other options which can go even far. But the quality of the picture is rather noticed on the lower side. By no means is a handheld telescope going to compete with a traditional telescope. Based on the size of a handheld telescope, 1000 yards is quite impressive.

How do you use a telescope for beginners?

Using a telescope can be quite challenging, especially for beginners. However, there are easier ways to master this task. If you’re a beginner, try to start from a lower eyepiece. While looking through the eyepiece, try turning the knob of the focus adjuster until the object you’re trying to see is clearer.

If you’re happy with the clarity of the image of your preferred object, move to a higher eyepiece. Now repeat the process to learn the system.

What is a good starter telescope?

Handheld telescopes are exclusively great for beginners. There is a lot of handheld telescopes out there. Among all of them, we consider the Pankoo 16X52 Monocular Telescope is a great option for beginners. With a mild magnification of 6x, this telescope is not going to overwhelm you with higher zoom.

Besides the lightweight of the telescope and the simplicity of the usage, this is one of the best ones out there. If you’re starting to get into this game, grabbing one will not be a mistake.

Why do I see a cross in my telescope?    

Some of the telescopes acrosscross in the viewfinder, and this is for a purpose. This cross is there to aid you in aligning your view with the object you’re trying to focus and see. Your telescope is going to adjust the focus of the cross that you see now.

The cross makes it much simpler to adjust the focus than any other telescope with no cross. With the help of the cross, you will know where to align and how much to focus on.

How do I know if my telescope needs collimation?

Sometimes, your telescope may show blur image. It’s not that your telescope is broken; rather, something is not going accordingly inside your telescope. During that time, all your need is to do collimation.

Collimation can be a simple way. But you do need to have a darker sky that has bright stars to focus on.

Focus on the brightest star. Make sure the center of the field of view is on the star. Now start defocusing the star with much care. You will notice that is a pattern of diffraction of the concentric circles is appearing. If no concentric pattern appears, your telescope needs collimation.

Final Verdict

Best handheld telescopes are one of the handiest tools, especially if you’re a bird spotter. Having a decent one with your kit will neither weigh you down nor give you the wrong magnification. Moreover, with the best possible performance, you will be in awe of how many upgrades you’ve had with just one additional piece of equipment.

Yes, the market is filled with a lot of fake and low products. However, they can’t fool you, at least now. We believe after reading our list of best handheld telescopes and a comprehensive buying guide, you are going to make the best possible decision. Now go and grab what you think, suits you the best.

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