Best solar viewing kit 2024: Observe the April 8 solar eclipse

Best solar kit 2024: Jump Menu

Today April 8 2024 is the total solar eclipse. With the specialist equipment highlighted below, you can view this upcoming extraordinary event safely and confidently. Below, you'll find a range of solar glasses, telescopes, binoculars and solar filters to make up the best solar viewing kits so you have an enjoyable experience when viewing the total solar eclipse. 

The path of totality is where the moon will block out the sun's light in its entirety and will be visible through parts of North America and Canada. It's a natural phenomenon but, you must ensure you get the right solar eclipse equipment today if delivery is still available. The next total solar eclipse in the USA will be in 2033 (Alaska only) and 2044 for a larger swathe of North America.

Safety is the priority when it comes to solar observation as without it, you can cause serious and long-term damage to your eyes. You should never look at the sun directly, or through a telescope or binoculars without a solar filter. We also have guides on solar eclipse glasses and how to photograph a solar eclipse which we would recommend checking out. For more helpful information about solar viewing, check out our best solar viewing equipment FAQs near the bottom of this guide.

Also, be sure to check out these strange eclipse phenomena and discover the stages of the total solar eclipse before the event.

Solar eclipse kit deals April 2024

The quick list

Here's a quick look at the products listed in this guide. To read more about a product, click on the picture or the 'read more below' button, and you'll see a more in-depth look.

The best solar viewing equipment we recommend in 2024

Why you can trust Space.com Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test and review products.

Solar Glasses

DayStar Solar Glasses & Filter Kit

DayStar Solar Glasses Kit

Ideal for the whole family, this kit has 5 pairs of solar glasses and 2 binocular filters

Specifications

Number of glasses: 5
Filters suitable for: Binoculars, Camera Lenses, Spotting Scopes
Filter size: 50mm
Material: 12312-2 ISO-Certified SOLARLITE Film
Magnification: N/A

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
Filter fits binoculars and camera lenses
+
Glasses can fit different face shapes and widths

Reasons to avoid

-
Not suitable for telescopes
-
Glasses could be easily broken
Buy it if

✅ You want something affordable: These solar glasses and binocular filters are super budget-friendly.

✅ The whole family wants to see solar events: For solar eclipses, this pack of 5 solar glasses means everyone can safely view the event simultaneously.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want something built to last: They're good quality for what they are, but solar glasses made from card aren't going to last forever.

❌ You want to do a lot of solar viewing: For more experienced astronomers, a solar telescope or dedicated binoculars might be more suitable.

The bottom line

🔎 DayStar Solar Glasses Kit: Easy on the wallet and user-friendly, this kit of solar glasses and filters are great for beginners who want to view specific solar events like eclipses. ★★★★

DayStar Filters' eclipse glasses and solar filters are an excellent choice for safely watching solar events like eclipses and seeing sunspots. With a design that puts safety and clear vision first, they're a fantastic choice for the whole family to use easily.

The eclipse glasses feature high-quality solarite film that meets the ISO 12312-2 international safety standards, ensuring that your eyes are protected from harmful solar radiation during observation and keeps out 99.999% of intense light and 100% of harmful UV — ideal for viewing and photographing the sun, safely. 

The design incorporates a comfortable and lightweight frame, making them easy to wear for extended periods without discomfort. The frames are also made of card stock with two creases that allow the user to customize them to fit different face shapes and sizes accordingly, making them a good option for younger skywatchers.

They're well-suited for anyone keen to witness solar events, from beginners to more advanced astronomers. In this kit, you'll get five pairs of solar viewing glasses and two 50mm universal lens filters, suitable for binoculars and camera lenses. We think they're a great option to get your kids interested in viewing solar events (with adult supervision, of course), and you don't have to worry about them mishandling more expensive equipment like telescopes or binoculars.

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DayStar Solar Glasses Kit
AttributesNotes
DesignMade from high-quality solarite film and can be customized to fit different face widths.
PerformanceKeeps out 99.999% of intense light and 100% of harmful UV and IR.
Functionality50mm filters can fit onto binoculars and camera lenses.

Celestron EclipSmart 2x Power Viewers

Budget friendly solar glasses with 2x magnification from astronomy powerhouse Celestron

Specifications

Number of glasses: 2
Material: Foldable cardboard frame, ISO 12312-2 certified plastic lenses
Magnification: 2x

Reasons to buy

+
Compliant with ISO 12312-2
+
Sharp, clear views of the solar disk
+
Very affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Can produce double-vision
-
Not good for viewing sunspots
Buy it if

✅ You want a step up from regular solar glasses: The Power Viewers have 2x magnification for those wanting a closer look at the sun.

✅ You're on a budget: They are incredibly affordable.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want dedicated binoculars: While they do a great job, they won't be as detailed as special solar binoculars.

❌ You want to view sunspots: We found that sunspots weren't very visible when using them.

The bottom line

🔎 A fantastic step up from regular solar glasses, the Celestron Eclipsmart 2x Power Viewers give 2x magnification for those wanting to fly closer to the sun. ★★★★★

If you're looking for something a little more advanced than regular solar glasses, these Celestron Eclipsmart 2x Power Viewers will be just the ticket. They're certainly suitable for beginners, but their 2x magnification will be a little more pleasing to more experienced astronomers who want a closer look.

In our full Celestron EclipSmart 2x Power Viewers review, we thought they're perfect if you want a close-up view of the sun without needing to invest in dedicated solar eclipse binoculars. They have two small lenses in front of two larger solar filters and comply with ISO 12312-2. These lenses are made of the same polymer material, so the sun appears orange instead of white like many other solar glasses, and you can just about see faint sunspots and wispy clouds on the sun's surface. The only thing to watch out for is double vision, as you can't adjust the distance between the lenses. But overall, we thought they gave a great view.

With the Celestron EclipSmart 2x Power Viewers Solar Eclipse Observing Kit, you'll find a sturdy, foldout map inside the box. It's laminated and durable, displaying a map of the U.S. with both parts of the eclipse marked on it. We found it a little confusing for the 2023 eclipse, but it seems excellent for the upcoming Great North American Eclipse in April 2024. They come in a pack of two — great for using as a couple or with a friend.

If you don't want the 2x magnification or want more pairs to share around a group, Celestron also does a Solar Eclipse Glasses Viewing Kit with four pairs of regular solar glasses.

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Celestron EclipSmart 2x Power Viewers
AttributesNotes
DesignFoldable design made from cardboard and plastic lenses.
PerformanceOrange tint makes the sun look more realistic.
Functionality2x magnification gives the power of binoculars with the price of solar glasses.

Solar Specific Telescopes

Celestron EclipSmart Travel Solar Scope 50

Ideal for observing sunsets and solar eclipses on a budget.

Specifications

Optical Design: Refractor
Aperture: 2-inch/50mm
Focal Length: 4-inch/360mm
Focal Ratio: f/7.2
Eyepiece Focal Length: 0.8 inch/20mm (18x)
Total Kit Weight: 2 lbs/918g
Mount type: Manual alt-azimuth

Reasons to buy

+
Comes with a backpack
+
Affordable price
+
Simple and safe to use

Reasons to avoid

-
Wobbly tripod
-
Plastic build
Buy it if

✅ You want to transport it: It comes with a backpack and weighs only 2 lbs / 918g, making it very easy to transport.

✅ You're on a budget: As far as telescopes go, this one is a very good price for what you get.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You already have a telescope: If you already have a pretty good telescope and this feels like a downgrade, you'd be better off getting a solar filter for your current telescope.

❌ You want to use it for nighttime viewing: This telescope has a permanent solar filter fixed to the front, so you can't take it off to use it for stargazing.

The bottom line

🔎 A budget-friendly way to get close-ups of the sun's surface, the Celestron EclipSmart Travel Solar Scope 50 with a built-in white light filter fits the bill. Simple to set up, travel with and use, it’s ideal for observing sunsets and for solar eclipses. ★★★★

The Celestron EclipSmart Solar Telescope 50 is an ideal choice for simple and safe solar viewing. It comes with a backpack for easy transportation, plus it's portable, lightweight, cost-effective, has built-in white light filters and an excellent finderscope too. We've also reviewed the Celestron EclipSmart Solar Telescope 50 and rate it highly. 

A travel-friendly solar telescope that offers up to 18x magnification, (very useful when observing sunspots), the Celestron EclipSmart Travel Solar Scope 50 has a permanent solar filter across its optics which follows the ISO 12312-2 standard, effectively blocking infrared (IR), ultraviolet (UV) and 99.99% of visible sunlight. This means you won't accidentally leave the solar filters on or off, making it a great option for kids — and adults who might forget! That said, it does restrict what this telescope can be used for. But overall, it's convenient as an all-in-one tool that doesn't need any additional accessories. 

It's incredibly easy to use and can be set up in minutes, which is great news for beginners. It comes with a backpack and tripod which makes it fantastic if you're traveling to watch the eclipse, but we did find the plastic tripod to be a bit flimsy and fragile. 

The 18x magnification works well for seeing sunspots and tracking an eclipse, but you need to keep the Celestron EclipSmart Travel Solar Scope 50 very steady. It's easy to manage on a calm day when placed on a solid surface, but it becomes challenging with any amount of wind. To instantly improve it, we'd recommend pairing it with one of the best tripods.

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Celestron EclipSmart Solar Telescope 50
AttributesNotes
DesignShaky tripod and fragile build quality.
PerformanceCrisp images with minor fringing.
FunctionalityEasy to locate the sun.

iOptron 80mm White Light Solar Scope

iOptron 80mm White Light Solar Scope

A versatile solar telescope that can also be used for nighttime and terrestrial viewing.

Specifications

Optical Design: Achromatic Refractor
Aperture: 3.1-inches / 80mm
Focal Length: 16-inches / 400mm
Focal Ratio: f/5
Eyepiece Focal Length: 25mm (16x), 10mm (40x)
Total Kit Weight: 3 lb / 1.3kg
Mount type: No Mount - OTA Only

Reasons to buy

+
Detachable solar filter
+
Affordable
+
It can be paired with GoTo mounts

Reasons to avoid

-
No mount or tripod included
-
There are better telescopes out there
Buy it if

✅ You want something versatile: It's a great choice for those wanting to use it for several purposes, day and night.

✅ You don't have a huge budget: There are more affordable options, but we think this one is a great choice given what it can do.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You already have a telescope: If you already own a good telescope, this one likely won't measure up — you'd be better off buying a solar filter for your current scope.

❌ You want a ready-to-go scope: This one doesn't have a mount or tripod, so you'll need to source those separately.

The bottom line

🔎 iOptron 80mm White Light Solar Telescope: A good choice for all users, although beginners might struggle with the lack of mount and tripod. It's also good for nighttime and terrestrial viewing. ★★★★

The iOptron 80mm White Light Solar Telescope is a good choice if you want a telescope to view the sun's surface. It comes with a highly durable SolarLite white light filter, has a clear solar filter aperture of 60mm, two eyepieces, and has the highest useful magnification of an impressive 189x.

The 80mm objective lens and short 400mm focal length (f/5.0) are perfect for capturing expansive sky views, making it particularly well-suited for observing larger celestial objects. 

What makes this scope stand out from the other solar telescopes on this list is that the 60mm solar filter is detachable, which provides the telescope with the versatility to use it at nighttime for stargazing as well as exploring terrestrial objects like birds and landscapes.

Not only is it great for solar viewing, but it proves to be excellent for observing objects within our solar system, providing clear views of the Moon's phases and allowing you to track the movements of planets. 

Whether you're observing Saturn's majestic rings or Jupiter's moons, this telescope delivers crisp and detailed views and it excels in revealing stunning star clusters, delicate nebulas and expansive galaxies.

It doesn't have a mount or tripod included, which beginners may find daunting at first, but it means you can combine it with several different mounts and tripod options to find the right setup for you.

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iOptron 80mm White Light Solar Telescope
AttributesNotes
DesignNo mount or tripod.
PerformanceProvides crisp and detailed views.
FunctionalityDetachable solar filter means you can use it for stargazing.

Solar Specific Binoculars

Celestron EclipSmart 10x25 Solar Binoculars