✭ Reflectors (mirror-based telescopes) come in the widest range
of sizes and are usually the least
expensive at any size.
✭ Refractors (lens-based telescopes) offer sharp and contrasty views but most
are small (2"-4") because larger ones tend to be bulky and harder to manage. Cheaper ones also suffer from a
problem called chromatic aberration which causes purple fringing around brighter objects.
✭ Compound telescopes are mirror-based telescopes that use a special design to make them the most
compact of the three types.
While all three types are popular among stargazers, for the greatest value, we recommend a reflector for a
simply because these are usually the least expensive in the 3" to 6" range.