Among telescope stores, OpticsPlanet stands above the rest. They carry a large selection of telescopes at their store from most major manufacturers including Bushnell, Celestron, Galileo, Meade and TeleVue to name just a few.
OpticsPlanet is based out of Northbrook, Illinois and is one of the largest online sources for everything related to optics including telescopes. They also carry a wide range of accessories for your new telescope like specialized tripods, digital camera adapters and vibration isolation pads. If you’re looking for telescopes and telescope supplies, OpticsPlanet is a good place to start.
- Large selection of telescopes and accessories
- Free shipping
- Good customer service
If you can look through it, there is a good chance that OpticsPlanet sells it. They carry one of the internet’s largest selections of telescopes and telescope accessories. OpticsPlanet’s website allows the user to search for telescopes by brand, price and even type. OpticsPlanet offers small telescopes made for the casual astro-gazer to models costing thousands of dollars for more serious enthusiasts. In fact, they carry as many high end telescopes as lower priced models indicating that they are equally committed to catering to both serious and beginning star gazers.
If you need some new accessories for your new telescope, OpticsPlanet has everything you could ask for. Just like their telescope section, the accessory section allows the user to search by brand and price for your needed accessories. They carry a good selection of eyepieces, filters, tripods, cases, mounts and Barlow lenses. For the more serious astronomer, they sell much more expensive electronic hand controllers which allow the user to more easily locate certain constellations in the sky.
Ease of Use
OpticsPlanet’s website is a bit ungainly as far as navigation goes. Very long pages and copious amounts of text await your browsing as you search for your desired telescope. For the most part, this text becomes helpful as you learn to navigate through their impressive product selection, but it is occasionally unnecessary and cumbersome. Just like any reputable online seller, OpticsPlanet accepts all major credit cards including Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. Using a credit card is the preferred method of payment and it allows your order to be shipped the quickest. Using a credit card also helps protect the consumer in the event of fraud as most credit card companies won’t hold the consumer liable for fraudulent charges.
OpticsPlanet also accepts PayPal and Google Checkout as forms of payment. If you do not have a credit card or an online payment method, you can also pay with a check.
Paying with a check will dramatically slow your order and it is highly recommended that you pay with another method if possible.
You can also pay with a money order. Again if you pay with a money order, it could delay your order and it is recommended that you use another form of payment.
OpticsPlanet does not collect sales tax on most orders. The exception is on orders that are shipped to their home state of Illinois. These orders are subject to a 9.75% tax.
Anyone can stock telescopes and sell them online to the general public with some degree of success. OpticsPlanet’s customer support is what really sets them apart from the competition. Customers of OpticsPlanet may contact them via email, telephone or fax.
OpticsPlanet offers a live chat option as well. This is probably the quickest and easiest way to contact OpticsPlanet with questions from sales help to technical support.
Customers can do their own research through OpticsPlanet’s website. Customers are able to leave their own personal reviews for any product that OpticsPlanet sells. This allows customers to gauge how the products are or are not meeting the needs or their peers. Customers can specify the pros and cons and what they use the product for. This can help potential customers make more informed decisions and get a product that will truly meet their needs.
Perhaps the best way for customers to get real feedback from other users is the forum hosted by OpticsPlanet. This allows many users to participate in discussions ranging from what to buy to how to use it to troubleshooting problems.
OpticsPlanet offers customers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. This gives you 30 days to return any merchandise for a full refund. OpticsPlanet prides itself for its liberal return policy. OpticsPlanet doesn’t normally charge a restocking fee for returned goods, although items that are returned in a condition that prohibits the item from being resold will be assigned a restocking fee. These occasions are rare.
Buying guides are provided to customers to help them make the most informed decisions. At the time of this review, there were over a dozen articles about telescopes ranging from how to set up and use a telescope to articles about the Hubble telescope. There are also informative videos designed to educate customers about the basics of telescopes.
When you sign up with OpticsPlanet or place an order you are automatically signed up for their monthly newsletter. The newsletter is designed to let customers know about upcoming sales and events relative to their purchase and interests. There are also exclusive deals and promotions that are only available for newsletter subscribers.
In addition to the great selection of telescopes and telescope accessories found at their telescope stores, they also offer free shipping on most orders. To qualify for free shipping, orders must be worth more than $30 and be shipped to the lower 48 states. Orders shipped for free will usually be sent via USPS Priority Mail. Customers who need their order faster may opt for any number of expedited shipping options for an additional fee. Any shipping fees that an order might be subjected to are listed on the checkout page before the order is completed. These fees are based on the size, weight and destination of the order.
Most orders placed with OpticsPlanet are processed and shipped within 1-2 business days after payment has cleared. For the fastest processing time it is recommended that customers use a credit card to pay for their merchandise.
In most cases OpticsPlanet will ship the items that are available and in stock first. If this is the case OpticsPlanet will notify the customer first in the event that an order is shipped incomplete.
OpticsPlanet’s large product selection and excellent customer service make them a great resource for anyone looking for a new telescope. Check out our side-by-side comparison chart of online telescope stores to see how they compare with the others.