If you’re looking for the easiest way to increase the magnification in your telescope, then a Barlow lens is for you. It allows you to increase the magnification of your telescope very easily, typically by using a 2x or 3x multiplier (therefore doubling or trebling your magnification). This might not sound like a lot, but it is when you’re already looking at something that is highly magnified.
But if you’re looking to get yourself a Barlow lens, where do you start? Is it okay to invest in a cheap one, or should you be looking to invest more in a Barlow? Well, it really depends on your circumstance and what telescope you have – cheaper priced telescopes tend to need barlow lenses to increase magnification. So, lets take a look at a few of the top Barlow lenses that you’ll find available online.
Best Barlow Lens
Celestron X-Cel LX – Best 3x Barlow Lens
- Quality X Cel LX 3x Barlow triples the magnification of any 1.25 inch eyepiece, perfect for owners of fast, short focal length telescopes
- 3 element apochromatic, fully multi coated optics offer up bright, sharp images with excellent color correction
- A rubber grip helps to avoid accidental drops
For me, I prefer a 3x barlow lens to a 2x and a 5x magnification. So, it only makes sense that the X-Cel is probably my favorite barlow lens at a reasonable price.
The main reason that I like the X-Cel is that you don’t need to worry about chromatic abberations and poor vision – the apochromatic optics help to give you a clear, unedited view through the scope. The build of the lens itself is great, and you can easily attach the lens itself into place. This kind of 3x barlow is ideal for viewing planets, however it might be a little much if you’re a beginner or you don’t need 3x magnification (in which case, get a 2x barlow to start with!). But overall, for the price, this is my favorite barlow lens of the bunch.
Celestron Omni – Best 2x Barlow Lens
- Double the magnification of each eyepiece you own with the Omni 2X Barlow Lens
- Keep the eye relief of your eyepieces while getting 2X the power
- Slides into 1.25 inch focuses and diagonals and accepts 1.25 inch eyepieces
If you’re looking for a shorter magnification, then it makes sense to go for a 2x barlow lens. If this is what you’re looking for, then the Celestron Omni barlow lens is undoubtedly one of the best options currently available. A 2x barlow is what is usually recommended to beginners to get used to using a lens, and the Omni is a good example of a basic barlow done right.
A 2x barlow can easily allow you to double the magnification of your eyepieces. Typically, barlow lenses that come with telescopes are low quality, and the easiest way to avoid chromatic abberations is to get a better barlow like the Omni. It will help to give you a clear vision, it’s very durable and long lasting and it’s pretty cheap too. So if you’re looking for a 2x barlow, this would undoubtedly be my number 1 choice.
Celestron Luminos 2.5x Barlow Lens
- The Celestron 2.5x Luminos Barlow increases the magnification of any 2” or 1.25” eyepiece by two and a half times
- High-quality 4-element optics produce a flat field for sharp images that are free of extraneous color
- Hard-anodized aluminum barrel is threaded to accept 2” filters
The Luminos series is generally for those looking to take their astronomy a little more seriously. If you’re past the beginner stage, then it might be worth considering looking at getting a Luminos barlow lens as opposed to a cheaper option.
The main difference between the Luminos and cheaper barlow lenses that are available is the quality in materials. The Luminos uses a hard-adonized aluminum barrel, which gives it a robust feel. The compression ring is really easy to manoeuvre too, which is important with any lens. But most importantly, the optics of the lens itself enables you to get a really good, clear view through the scope. So, if you’re looking for a higher quality level of barlow lens and have the extra cash, then you might want to think about getting the Luminos.
Svbony 2x Barlow Lens
- The value must have 2x barlow lens doubles the magnification of any 1.25 inch eyepiece;double the capacity of an existing set eyepieces at the cost of a single eyepiece
- SVBONY barlow lens provide a high power magnification allow you look more closely and more detailed at the moon's surface and other planet
- 2 element one group broadband green film multi coated optical glass;the housing is blackened to maximize image contrast;both that gets high quality observation without additional chromatic aberration;make image more crisp and sharp
Svbony are known for making some of the most budget friendly telescope equipment around. And although it might not be as good quality as the Celestron’s of the world, they typically come at a fraction of the price. So for beginners, it might make sense to opt fo the cheaper option as opposed to going for something expensive.
One thi g that might indicate the quality of a barlow lens is the materials it’s made from. A lot of cheaper, low quality barlow lenses are made from plastic, however this model is made from metal, which you probably wouldn’t expect for it’s cost. For it’s low price, you’re really going to struggle to find anything as good as this Svbony barlow lens.
Celestron Eyepiece Kit (including Barlow)
- 5 SUPERIOR-GRADE PLOSSL EYEPIECES: Our Celestron Accessory Kit includes five Plossl telescope eyepieces, ranging from low to high power: 32mm, 17mm, 13mm, 8mm, and 6mm. Each eyepiece features a four-element design with a 52-degree field of view.
- 2X BARLOW LENS: The 2x Barlow lens can be easily paired with each of the five eyepieces in this kit (or any 1.25” eyepiece) to enhance your view and instantly double its magnification for even more power. It’s like having 10 telescope eyepieces in your collection
- COLORED FILTERS FOR ASTRONOMICAL VIEWING: Colored filters are perfect for bringing out various details on a planet’s surface or in its cloud structure.
If you’re looking for more than just a barlow lens, then it might be worth considering getting a full of telescope accessories. In this Celestron kit, you’re going to get a good quality 2x barlow lens, which is precisely what you’ll be looking for.
But as well as this, you’re also going to get a host of other stuff too. As well as the barlow lens, you’re also going to get a wide range of different eyepieces that you can use with the lens too (they’re measurements are 6mm, 8mm, 13mm, 17mm and 32mm). You’ll also get a variety of different moon filters too, which can make it much easier to identify certain aspects of a planet or DSO. So if you’re looking to get a collection of telescope accessories, then it’s worth considering this Celestron kit.
What does a Barlow Lens do?
Well, Barlow lenses are named after Peter Barlow, a famous mathematician and physicist who rose to prominence at the start of the 19th Century. At their very simplest, Barlow lenses are a good way to increase the magnification in your telescope without having to get a completely new one. Essentially, it’s just a lens that you place between the eyepiece and the objective lens that enables greater magnification of your scope.
The good thing about barlow lenses is that they’re really easy to use. All you have to do is to attach it to your telescope and you can magnify your view. You can use a barlow lens in tandem with an eyepiece to get an increase magnification.
What to consider before buying a Barlow Lens – 2x vs 3x
When you’re buying a barlow lens, you’ll need to consider the barrel size of the barlow lens – it needs to be the equivalent of your telescope, otherwise it’s not going to fit. The majority of barlow lenses are 1.25 inches, which is the standard size. But, not all barlow lenses are this size, so it’s definitely worth making sure that you check this before buying one.
You’ll also want to check the magnification of the barlow lens too, because this is also going to be a key factor in your decision. Typically, a barlow lens will be 2 or 3x magnification – they generally aren’t intended to add massive amounts of magnification, but it makes a big difference because your telescope is already so magnified. If you aren’t sure what you should opt for, then a 2x magnification barlow lens is likely to be the best choice.
Is it hard to use a barlow lens?
If you’re new to astronomy, then somethings things like Barlow lenses and laser collimators can appear quite daunting. But don’t worry – they don’t have to (actually, collimators can be a little confusing so check out my collimator guide if you want to learn more about them). With a barlow lens, all you have to do is put the barlow lens on between the telescope itself and your eyepiece, you can easily allow for grater magnification.
All in all, if you’re looking for greater magnification, then a barlow lens is the best way to do this. It can easily give you double or treble the magnification you’ve already got, which is important when you’re looking to see deep sky objects. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a huge amount to get a decent Barlow lens, as they are relatively cheap nowadays.
Picking up a Barlow lens can be a better choice than opting for a new telescope eyepiece, because you can easily use a Barlow to adjust various different eyepieces e.g. if you have a 15mm and a 20mm eyepiece, using them with a 2x Barlow will give you a 30mm and a 40mm, which gives you a greater range of variation. So, if you’re looking for a new accessory for your telescope, then a Barlow lens is one of the first things you’ll want.
Last update on 2020-11-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API