Which Is Easier To Use And Maintain: Refractor or Reflector Telescopes?

If you’re looking to purchase your first telescope and aren’t sure whether to buy a reflector or a refractor, how easy it is to use might be a deciding factor, especially if you’ve never used either telescope before, and aren’t familiar with them in general. Buying a telescope that takes an eternity to set up when all you want to do is gaze up at the stars, can dampen your enthusiasm somewhat. 

If you’re looking for a simple to setup telescope that’s affordable but effective, you might want to try a Celestron Ultima Refractor 100 Spotting Angles Scope, and for more information about this telescope in particular, you can ask in a local telescope shop, or check with an online supplier. 

Do note that how you store and maintain your telescope, can be a determining factor in how quick it is to setup, too, and below, we’ll look at both ease of use and maintenance for refractor and reflector telescopes: 

Refractor telescopes: how easy are they to use and how must they be maintained?

Maintenance and how easy they are to use – Refractor telescope

With a lens at the front of the telescope and an eyepiece at the back, this forms a tube that’s closed, helping to protect them from elements found outside such as humidity, dust and dirt. The closed tube also means that the telescope doesn’t need a cool-down period after use, making them exceptionally convenient for simply grabbing and going. 

With the lens firmly attached to the body of the telescope, keeping the optics secure, they don’t wobble and get themselves out of alignment. Also, the rugged construction of refractor telescopes means that they’re easy to carry around without the risk of them becoming damaged. 

The above factors make refractor telescopes such as the Celestron Ultima Refractor 80 Spotting Scope, virtually maintenance-free and great for beginners.

Maintenance and ease of use – Reflector telescope

Because they open up from the top, reflector telescopes are more prone to gathering dust and debris from outside than refractors, and are more susceptible to humidity and temperature changes, too.   

To keep a reflector telescope functioning correctly, they will need to be maintained on a regular basis and kept protected from the elements. 

It’s also worth noting that the mirrors positioned on the actual reflectors are able to move around a little bit when being moved or even when being used normally. When this happens, the mirrors become misaligned and the image you see through the lens, becomes blurry. To remedy this, collimation is required; a process which realigns the lens, but note that this is not something amateurs will be able to do with ease. As well, mirrors on a reflector telescope are much easier to damage by scratching, chipping or breaking, when compared to lenses in refractor telescopes. Overall, the mirrors found on reflector telescopes are extremely sensitive, and are greatly affected by temperature differences that occur both inside of the tube, and outside of it. 

Depending on what size reflector telescope you’ve chosen, they typically need to undergo a period of rest for up to half an hour in order to establish and maintain an ambient temperature from outside, during what is referred to as a period of cool-down. 

While the type of telescope you choose is entirely up to you, if you’re looking for something that is simpler to use and which doesn’t require a great deal of maintenance, then a telescope such as a Celestron Landscout 20-60x80mm Spotting Scope with Smartphone Adaptor, might be ideal.