When you’re buying accessories for your telescope, a good Barlow lens is often where people. Aside from being relatively cheap, they’re one of the most practical ways to see more when you’re looking at the night sky.
A Barlow lens is the easiest way to increase the magnification of your telescope without spending a ton of cash. You can easily add a cheap Barlow lens to your telescope and increase the magnification by 2 or 3 times. That means that even if you have a cheap $300 telescope, a Barlow can dramatically increase its power.
But when you’re looking for a Barlow lens, should you be looking for anything in particular? Or are they all similar to each other? Well, I’ll be looking at some of the best Barlow lenses currently available to give you an idea of what to look for.
Best Barlow Lens
|Celestron Omni Barlow||2x||Check Price at Amazon|
|Celestron X-Cel LX||3x||Check Price at Amazon|
|Orion High Powered Lens||5x||Check Price at Amazon|
|Celestron Eyepiece Accessory Kit||2x||Check Price at Amazon|
When you’re buying a Barlow lens, you need to ensure that you’re buying one the right size for your telescope. The majority of Barlow lenses are designed to work with 1.25 inch eyepieces, as this is what most telescopes use. However, some are made to work with 2 inch eyepiece barrels for a wider viewing angle. Just make sure that if you buy a 2 inch Barlow, that it comes with a 1.25 inch adapter (most of them do!).
Celestron Omni 2x Barlow
If you’re looking for a reasonably priced Barlow lens, then I’d advise you to look at this Celestron Omni Barlow. It’s a 2x magnification lens, which is a great place to start if you’re a beginner.
The quality of this Omni Barlow is actually pretty amazing considering its low price – it’s on par with much more expensive Barlow’s out there. You’ll get a clear view with no aberrations, provided you use it with the right eyepieces.
For those not sure of the best eyepieces to use with this Barlow, then I’d advise anything between 12mm and 32mm. Of course, the Barlow is going to double the power of whatever eyepiece you use, so if you have a 12mm eyepiece it will be the equivalent of 6mm.
If you’re worried about not getting enough eye relief with this Barlow, then you don’t need to be concerned. This Barlow has enough eye relief that even if you wear glasses, it won’t be any issue for you to use this. So overall, for beginners who are looking for their first Barlow lens, or a step up from the free one your telescope came with, then I’d advise you to opt for this Omni Barlow.
Celestron X-Cel LX 3x
For those that want more power than a 2x lens can offer, then this X-Cel LX from Celestron is a good choice for those who are happier with a 3x Barlow. This would suit those who have a range of eyepieces around 18-40mm, as you probably wouldn’t want to use this with an eyepiece less than 12mm.
You’ll get some of the crispest images possible, which is down to the 3 element apochromatic optics that this lens uses. It also has a great rubber grip, so if you want a Barlow lens that will be able to withstand bad weather, then this would be a very good choice. As with most Barlow’s, this works with any 1.25 inch telescope.
So all in all, if you’re looking for a good 3x Barlow lens then I’d advise you check out the Celestron X-Cel. It’s a good quality lens that will give you some awesome views, and if you’re interested in seeing planets in better detail, you would probably do well to get a powerful lens like this one.
Orion High Powered 5x Lens
If you have a telescope with a low focal length, then you might want to consider a 5x Barlow lens. Usually, I wouldn’t advise a 5x Barlow for most people, but if you have a low powered telescope, then it might be the best way for you to get a closer view of some deep sky objects.
This kind of 5x Barlow is perfect for using with 25-50mm inch eyepieces, as it will turn any wide angle into a much closer view. If you’re trying to get a detailed view of the moon, or other planets, but your telescope isn’t quite powerful enough even with an eyepiece, then this might make the difference. It’s very simple and easy to use, and it’s a well-made piece of equipment.
This Orion lens uses a 4 element design, which helps to ensure that you get the most clarity in your view. For people looking for a 5x Barlow lens, then this would be a safe choice.
Celestron Barlow Lens Accessory Kit
If you’re a beginner and you aren’t exactly sure what accessories you need, then it would probably be worth looking at this full accessory kit made by Celestron. It includes a 2x Barlow lens, as well as 5 different eyepieces to use it with ranging from 6mm up to 32mm.
It also includes an arrangement of colored filters which can be used when you’re looking at planets or the moon, as this can help to highlight certain details that you wouldn’t notice without. If you’re looking for a cost effective way to see a lot more with your telescope, then this accessory kit is a must have.
Buying Guide for Barlow Lenses – FAQs
What is a Barlow lens?
A Barlow lens is just a small optical tube that enables you to increase the magnification of your telescope. The tube is filled with a concave lens, and when this lens is placed between the lens of your telescope and its eyepiece, this will increase the lens by the magnification specified (most Barlow lenses come in 2x, 3x and 5x magnifications).
Is a Barlow lens worth it?
If you’re wondering whether you even need a Barlow lens, then the answer is; probably. A Barlow lens is a cheap way to increase the magnification of your telescope, and for beginners especially, it’s pretty important that you have the ability to do this.
Do I need a Barlow lens?
One of the most common questions people ask about barlow lenses is whether they’re really necessary for astronomy. Since the majority of telescope packages come with eyepieces, do you really need a barlow lens? In my opinion, a Barlow lens is still an essential piece of equipment for any astronomers, and is best used in conjunction with an eyepiece. For example, if you have a 10mm and a 18mm eyepiece, then you have 2 different options. But if you have a 10mm and a 18mm eyepiece, combined with a 2x and a 3x barlow, then you have more options (10mm, 10mm x 2, 10mm x 3 etc).
What’s better, a Barlow Lens or an Eyepiece?
Another commonly asked question is whether a barlow lens is going to give better results than an eyepiece. For example, if you have a 10mm eyepiece with a barlow lens, this is equivalent of having a 20mm eyepiece, right? But which one would be better? Many old school astronomers prefer to collect an eyepiece in every different magnification – it’s part of the fun for them. The reality is that in most cases, there’s not going to be much of a difference between the two, but often eyepieces are made for the telescope brand, so they may be a little better.
Can I use 2 barlow lenses together? (Stacked Barlows)
Many people wonder whether they can use two Barlow lenses together at the same time. The answer is that yes, you can! If you use a 2x and a 3x Barlow lens together, then you’ll get a 6x magnification (this is approximately). However, bear in mind that it will be a lot harder to focus your telescope if you stack your Barlows together like this.
How does a Barlow lens work?
One of the most confusing things about a Barlow lens can be understanding how it works, and what the benefits are of a Barlow lens. It doesn’t work the same way that an eyepiece does, which often confuses people who think that they work in the same way. But, the benefits of a Barlow lens are pretty clear to understand.
At its simplest, an element Barlow lens is simply a diverging lens that’s used to amplify the magnification or focal length of the lens of your telescope. You simply place it between your lens and the eyepiece, and it can give you the ability to change your magnification considerably when paired with different eyepieces.
A good Barlow lens can produce a good image quality, even though they aren’t particularly high powered. They’re made to work well with the eyepieces you have for your telescope – they’re not necessarily a replacement. They’re much lower power than your standard eyepiece.
However when use together, you can use your telescope to a very high power and easily see further into the night sky. For spotting planets, a quality Barlow will work well.
Pros of Using a Barlow Lens
- A Barlow lens can easily double the amount of magnifications possible with the eyepieces you currently have.
- They enable you to get some really high powered magnifications for the lowest cost.
- You can stack Barlow lenses together to get even more power if you have a cheap telescope.
Cons of Using a Barlow Lens
- In the long term, most people end up having a wide range of different eyepieces to choose from, and don’t really use a Barlow lens much.
- Barlow lenses can be quite big and bulky, which is why many astronomers turn to eyepieces in the long run.
All in all, a Barlow lens is an essential piece of kit to add to your astronomy toolkit, as it can easily allow you to adjust the magnification of your telescope with little hassle. Deciding on a Barlow lens shouldn’t be a difficult task – they all have the same objective, you should just base your purchase on how much you can afford to spend on a Barlow lens.
A Barlow lens is especially useful if you have a low powered telescope, and it often cheaper than buying a new one. As mentioned earlier, you can also combine it with eyepieces to make a super well powered telescope.
Hopefully, this has helped you decide which Barlow lenses are worth considering. If you have any recommendations, please leave it below so I can share this recommendation with my readers.