I already have a small 60mm Tasco refractor (with 300mm focal lenght) and a homemade 40mm refractor (with 1300mm focal lenght) and I want to buy a new telescope to have a better experience (I don't have an EQ mount yet)

I face the current choice: for the same price, I can have a 70mm refractor (900mm fl) with a great EQ mount, or a 114mm reflector (900mm fl) with a less great EQ mount...

How can I compare those 2 two? They are not the same type, and I feel like comparing oranges with apples.

I know the technical difference between them, and I know the details about collimation. I just don't know how to rate them and chose one.

In short: Is it better a big reflector or a small refractor? (If I want to extend the information to other choices I might encounter)

  • $\begingroup$ I'm confused by this question. You ask if its better to get a big refractor or a small reflector, but the reflector diameter you mention is almost twice your refractor diameter. $\endgroup$
    – zephyr
    Jul 7, 2017 at 20:03
  • $\begingroup$ I mean that 70mm is in the biggest refractor I can afford, and the 114mm is the smallest reflector with the same price (and bigger is more expensive)... I want to know how I can compare the two, since they are the same price, from the same brand. On what can I base my choice? How can I say must pick one over the other? $\endgroup$
    – Eradash
    Jul 7, 2017 at 20:15
  • $\begingroup$ But then clearly you can get either a smaller refractor or a big reflector, so why would you want to know if a larger refractor is better than a smaller reflector? Your question contradicts itself and makes it hard to know which question should really be answered. FWIW, I'd probably base my choice on both aperture size and tracking software/capabilities. $\endgroup$
    – zephyr
    Jul 7, 2017 at 20:19
  • $\begingroup$ I switched around reflector and refractor in the last paragraph, as I think the OP had them mixed up. $\endgroup$
    – Dr Chuck
    Jul 8, 2017 at 9:38
  • $\begingroup$ @zephyr, the OP stated just what you suggested. He's looking at a smaller telescope with good tracking or a larger one with less capable tracking. That's is part of his decision process. $\endgroup$
    – Natsfan
    Jul 9, 2017 at 2:02

1 Answer 1


Small and effective refractors are easier to make than small and effective reflectors, but reflectors are cheaper in general. Unless you have some special reason to want to avoid a larger aperture (eg because you are engaged in solar observation) or a special reason why you want the optical qualities of a refractor, you almost certainly want a bigger aperture and so for a fixed price you are likely to be better off with the reflector.

Not having a EQ mount may be a bit of an issue though.


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