A Quick Note about Meade the company
The Meade company was founded in 1972 and they have been producing telescopes and optics with two important things in mind: Quality of performance and value for your dollar. They have truly achieved both these things because their telescopes are outstanding in performance and at a very competitive price. You can take a virtual tour of their factory here
If you want to browse through a selection of Meade Telescopes I have them right here on this website Meade Telescope Store
First Question: What will you be using the telescope for? Strictly astronomical use, terrestrial use or both? This is an important question and has an impact on which telescope you should buy.
If you are going to do predominantly astronomical viewing you should strongly consider getting a reflector telescope (this is the one with the mirror rather than the lens) and this is because you will get a substantial amount of more power for less money. These reflecting telescopes are a very good value for astronomical viewing.
If you are going to mix up your astronomical viewing with terrestrial based viewing you should consider getting a refractor telescope. These are much better suited to terrestrial viewing.
For amateur astronomy there are three classes of Meade telescope that I will recommend based on how serious you are about your astronomy.
Some Telescope Buying Recommendations
If you are a beginner astronomer and just want something of quality to try out astronomy without breaking the bank here are my recommendations:
Meade NG-70SPR Altazimuth Refractor Telescope - Silver (20215)
This is an excellent refractor telescope. Very reasonably priced, high quality and good for both astronomical and terrestrial viewing. If you are making your first foray into astronomy this is a great place to start. And if your love of astronomy grows and you end up getting a bigger telescope this one will still be very useful to you for its ease and portability.
Meade 114 EQ-ASTR Equatorial Reflector Telescope - Silver (4066)
The Meade Reflector Telescope - If you are going to be using your telescope pretty much just for astronomical viewing you should get a reflector telescope. The light gathering power of a reflector is significantly higher for the price and this beginner reflector is a great value at a comparable price to the refractor with a significant increase in size.
Meade ETX90AT Telescope w/884 Tripod and Software
For the more liberal budget minded this telescope is hands down the best choice. It is compact in size, performs absolutely outstanding and is just a fantastic telescope that will astound you. It is more expensive than the others but performs accordingly without being hard to use. And it also has an optional computerized object finder which means you can just press a button and the scope will automatically go to the object. It makes stargazing real easy. Costs more than the other beginner scopes but is still a fantastic value and something that will give you a lifetime of pleasure. This is the scope where meade says let's give the highest possible quality at a good price for the beginning astronomer or hobbyist. See a youtube video of this telescope without the tripod
If you are an intermediate level astronomer, know a bit about telescopes and have done some astronomy yet are looking for a powerful telescope that will give you a substantial amount of more light gathering power without breaking the bank.
Meade Instruments 0804-04-20 ETX-80BB Backpack Observatory Refractor Telescope
Significantly more light gathering power than the beginners refractor and perfect for both terrestrial and celestial viewing. Compact size for ease of use and comes with a computerized database that will automatically find objects in the night sky for you. This is an outstanding refractor for the intermediate user See the youtube video on how to set this telescope up The Backback Observatory video
Meade LightBridge 8" f/6 46" Truss-Tube Dobsonian Telescope, Deluxe Version
Here is a great telescope with a whopping 8 inch mirror. Light weight and very portable. This telescope give you the absolutel best value for your power versus dollar. Surprising low cost for the sheer size of it.
Meade ETX105AT Telescope w/ UHTC, Autostar Controller (497) and Tripod (884)
Outstanding optics and superior performance in a small enough package to make it still very easy to use. Yet this telescope just gives stupendous performance. This is for the intermediate user that wants a high quality telescope with great power with a little more liberal budget.
If you are really serious about your astronomy and willing to make an investment in time and money I recommend:
Meade ETX-125PE Telescope with UHTC Serious light gathering power, ultra sturdy mount, and an automatic alignment function with a massive database that will find thousands of objects at the push of a button. This is an outstanding telescope that still keeps the cost reasonable.
Meade LX90GPS 8" GPS Computerized Telescope
This is a top of the line telescope with observatory quality optics and a computerized database of over 30,000 objects. This scope will just blow you away.
Want to see a video of shots of the moon with this telescope? See the video here
Looking for an outstanding Telescope that delivers observatory quality viewing yet at half the price of the big hitters of similiar size and ability?
When Meade Released their new product line of RCX-400 telescopes they caused a real stir in the amateur astronomy world. They are big powerful telescopes that keep their price in a much lower range than their competitors. I have more information about this telescope here.
Meade 10" (f/8) RCX 400 Advanced Ritchey-Chretien Telescope, with UHTC Coating, Computerized Altazimuth Fork Mount, Autostar II Computerized Hand Controller & Tripod