Meade and Celestron are two of the best known brands within the astronomy field. If you’re looking for a new telescope, then the likelihood is that you’re going to come across either of these two brands (as well as Orion telescopes too).
It can be really difficult to know which of these brands is the best for your needs. In all honesty, there isn’t too much between them, though there are some things which might make you want to opt for one brand over the other.
So taking all things into consideration, let’s take a look at these two brands and try to determine which one would be a better choice for you.
Meade vs Celestron
It’s generally accepted that there isn’t a great deal of difference between the two brands. In fact, there isn’t much difference between the majority of brands like these two, as well as Orion and Skywatcher. Part of this is because Celestron, Orion and Skywatcher are all made by the same company, so there isn’t going to be much difference between them.
Aside from a few select models from each brand, they mainly deal in cheap telescope. For example, with Meade they offer the LX90 which is one of the best options around for advanced astronomers in my opinion. But for the most part, both of these brands specialise in cheaper, entry level telescopes.
Celestron specifically deal with cheaper range products, which might not be good for intermediate or advanced astronomers, but are good options for those looking for something entry level. They also have a good range of budget telescopes available for those looking for something for their kids.
Meade has a good reputation in the US, but there have been an increase in complaints over the past decade in comparison to what it was before. They’re still the biggest manufacturer of telescopes worldwide however, so don’t rule them out of the equation.
The LX90 is one of Meade’s best selling telescopes. If you want to go for a step up on the low range entry level scopes and you’re happy to invest a little more, then the LX90 is one of the first models you should consider.
Although the LX90 might appear to be for advanced users, it’s actually incredibly easy to use, even for the beginner or novice astronomer. This is in part due to it’s slow focal ratio, which makes it extremely tolerant of a variety of different eyepieces. It’s a great user friendly telescope, especially if you compare it to others in the same price bracket.
Slow optics doesn’t mean that the scope is slow itself – its actually one of the fastest telescopes to navigate, due to it’s design. A slow focal ratio refers to the speed of the optics itself – the LX90 has a focal ratio of f/10, which means it’s relatively slow and easy to use for planet observation. The Auto Align GPS allows you to locate over 30,000 different objects in the sky extremely easily.
One of the negatives about the LX90 is that it’s a nightmare to move, so it’s not suitable if you’re looking for something portable. Although I do like the Meade LX90, it is quite expensive. You could also consider my list of favorite telescopes or if this one is out of your price range.
Celestron NexStar 8SE
It’s not often that you say that the Celestron 8SE is the cheaper option, as it retails at around $1000 itself. However for keen astronomers, this isn’t a massive price tag, and the 8SE certainly warrants this.
There are a few reasons why the 8SE has become one of the most popular telescopes for astronomers. It’s very portable, which you wouldn’t expect from such a big bulky telescope. This means that you can easily move it around, which is ideal as with the majority of big telescopes, this can be a nightmare. It’s also very easy to set up, which if you compare to your average Dobsonian telescope, is a nice relief.
It’s a Schmidt Cassegrain telescope (check here if you don’t know difference between Cassegrain and a Dobsonian), which generally is accepted as a good choice for intermediate to advanced astronomers. Newbies are better of sticking with reflectors and refractors for the most part. It has an 8 inch aperture as the name suggests, which makes it ideal for those looking for a good magnification (using it with an eyepiece is a good idea also).
Celestrons SkyAlign technology makes this very simple to use – although I say Cassegrains are generally better for more advanced users, that’s mainly down to the cost. If you have the cash to spend, then it could be worth picking up a telescope like this one, as it’s really easy to you the starfinding feature. The image quality is pretty awesome, too.
From a negative perspective (it’s only fair), it can be a little noisier than what people expect. Because it’s a computerized telescope, this can cause it to make more noise than a standard scope.
So out of these two telescopes, the 8SE is the much cheaper and lighter option of the two, which is important. Is the LX90 that much better in terms of optics that it warrants a higher price tag? Not in my opinion, so I would opt for the 8SE, especially if it’s your first high quality telescope.
Overall, Meade and Celestron are both brands that you’ll want to consider if you’re looking for an entry level or mid range telescope. If you want a better telescope than this sort of level, then you’ll need to be more careful with your decision – these two brands do have some good models, but you can also consider other brands too.
There really isn’t much of a difference between the two brands, so whichever you decide on will make a solid choice. But if you’re debating between the 8SE and the LX90 in my opinion, then the LX90 is better in my opinion.
Last update on 2019-03-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API