Orion 8946 SkyQuest XT10 Classic Dobsonian Telescope Review

Setting itself up as one of the higher priced and high end telescopes on the market, the Orion 8946 SkyQuest XT10 Classic Dobsonian Telescope is the last telescope you will ever need, just based on specs alone.

Not for the beginner, this professional level telescope is powerful enough to accomplish anything you want and all while sitting level on your desk.

This is a one of a kind type that also refines itself with not only being professional, but looking professional. With some of the best imagery you’ll ever get out of a telescope this size, if you want compact power then this is a hard deal to pass up.

Style Orion 8946

As a Dobsonian type, it is already level on an attached base. Its sleek all black interior is perfectly molded, with slight variations coming from white markings mentioning the company and the model. This is the prettiest you’re going to get in an all-black model, and as professional as you can get in this price range.

While there are models that imitate this style, they don’t even have close to the level of finish that the SkyQuest has. It is also hard to find a Dobsonian that doesn’t throw in an array of knobs in all the wrong places.

Recommended Level

This is definitely an expert level product, but can also be used by intermediate users. There is a level of complexity that goes along with using this telescope, but do to its nature it can be as simple or as complicated as you need it to be.

Since a lot of the high end features require a bit of know-how, users shouldn’t expect to go through every feature in one night. It will take a bit of reading and configuration to get it to a level where most are comfortable with it. This is why middle-intermediate and up is recommended for this model, as the first time high level of configuration can be a turnoff to inexperienced users.


Yeah, you’re not going to be able to break this beast. It is 76 pounds of heft and solid as a rock from top to bottom. If there ever was a telescope that you wanted to purchase for durability alone, then this would be at the top of the list.

Besides the materials being of high quality, the base by itself is like a rock, with mechanisms that won’t wear out over time as you use it. This means even through heavy use the movement of the telescope on the base will not become an issue. The included extras have the same level of care put into their roots and will last you for years without issues.


The huge 10 inch aperture reflector telescope is one of the finest in its class, and one of the biggest you can get for such a low price. Natural light is gathered better than any other telescope of its size, giving you better views of deep space objects.

Durable but not a pain to handle, it remains stable through repeated use and never becomes loose at the point of the base. With the CorrecTension friction optimization system it remains in perfect harmony so you can always have it in the perfect starting position when you come back to it.

This is great if you are going to be the only one using the telescope, as it will always be exactly where you want it. There are few items on the market with this type of stability, and as such you can always count on the SkyQuest to deliver.

Cons Orion 8946

Well it is hard to go through this review without mentioning the price as a con. This is one of the most expensive items on the market and is therefore considered a big investment.

The high learning curve will turn off a lot of prospective buyers, and its lack of portability compared to smaller scopes will be a big letdown as well. If using in a dark space it can be really hard to see the scope due to its all black finish.

This is more a thing when using inside in a dark office, not outside. The manual explains the basics but doesn’t go into a great amount of detail like beginner or intermediate type scopes.

Included Accessories

They have a good amount of materials included with this purchase starting with the 2 inch Crayford focuser, EZ Finder II reflex sight, 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece, dust caps, collimation cap and the Starry Night Software.

Orion didn’t mess around by including anything that wouldn’t be used, and all of the usual training and beginner manuals in other products have been replaced with solid useful materials that will come in handy on day 1.

This is a rare find, and with Orion not overstuffing this product with anything that isn’t useful, they shaved a couple of dollars off of the total price.

Value Orion 8946

The telescope alone is worth the price they are asking, so when you include all of the extras they are bundling, it becomes a steal. Remember that this is a very configuration heavy product with not a lot of reading material, so if users are not up for the initial configuration then their experience will vary widely from someone that knows what they are doing.

Value for this product is going to greatly depend on how acclimated the user is with telescope materials in general. So if they don’t have a high astronomy IQ then this will not be a good value for them now, and may even frustrate them throughout the ownership.

Lasting Appeal

This will be the only telescope you need for a very long time. It isn’t lacking for power, the extras are plentiful, and if you need to add more then Orion offers plenty of additional add-ons.

It is a futureproof powerhouse that will be the last telescope you have to buy, that is unless you are looking for something more portable. But it is a hard deal to beat, and with the durability not even being a question, a well taken care of SkyQuest can easily go over a decade of heavy use and still be great.

That’s a solid scope, and one of the rarer finds in the industry.

Best Comparison

This is an interesting find, but consider looking at the Orion XT10 Classic Dobsonian Telescope & Beginner Barlow Kit. It’s the exact same thing only with better instructions. Now you do miss out on some key goodies, but the fun thing about this is that it makes it accessible to all levels.

For buyers that are already familiar with how to work the X10, then it would be a complete waste of money to choose the beginner Barlow kit over this one that is made for experienced users. The reason is due to the extras you’ll miss out on, which will quickly add up as you purchase them separately.


Raw power and rock solid durability is promised with the purchase of this sleek looking Dobsonian telescope. The SkyQuest X10 is a high end beast that can be the best scope in your arsenal for years.

Just make sure you have the expertise to configure it correctly and make it your own.

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