Celestron Tabletop Tripod Review: Sometimes Smaller is Better

There’s a new alternative for the Celestron NexStar SE and NexStar Evolution series tripod – a short, foldable tabletop tripod. While the NexStar SE/Evolution tripod is 32” long when closed and retracted, the tabletop version is only 11” long when closed (7” open) and weighs half as much. Bringing the assembled telescope rig on the original tripod into and out of the house or garage can be tricky, but this tripod makes it much easier to grab-and-go.

The Celestron tabletop tripod for NexStar SE and Evolution telescopes. Credit: Celestron



Look & Feel

When I saw photos of this tripod online, I was skeptical that it would be stable with my NexStar 8SE, an 8” Schmidt-Cassegrain on a single-arm mount that weighs a combined 23 lbs. But at 6.8 lbs, this tripod has some heft, and the legs spread wide from the base. 

The tripod includes a built-in bubble level, and adjusting the height of each side is accomplished by turning a screw with a nice large knob. Unfortunately, the level is partially covered by the NexStar SE mount, but most of it is still visible.


The NexStar SE mount partially covers the tabletop tripod’s bubble level. Credit: AstronoMolly

The tripod is all-metal with rubber feet and is easy to fold up and transport.

Attaching the Mount and Telescope

I set the tripod down on my deck while I attached my Celestron NexStar 8SE so I could check the stability before putting it up on a table. I had some trouble attaching the mount – the center hole was hard to place correctly over the peg and then there was some side-to-side play and full 360° rotation that made lining up the three bolts tricky. I got better at it by my third attempt. I was worried that it might be hard to keep it stable while I attached the telescope, and a second set of hands would be helpful, but I was able to keep it in place with my knee. The bolts are on springs in the tripod so you can’t lose them, and there are no washers to drop on the ground.


Despite its small size, the tabletop tripod handles an 8″ telescope and mount. Credit: AstronoMolly

Turning the leveling bolts was still smooth and easy with the added weight of the telescope and mount, although the rubber feet tended to turn with the screw, causing the tripod to “walk” across the deck. 


I jiggled the mount around and was glad to notice that it did not feel top-heavy. I felt comfortable picking the whole assembly up and placing it on a table. I tried it out on my folding table but a picnic table or similarly stable surface would work better and be safer.


The tabletop tripod and 8″ SCT on a folding portable table. Credit: AstronoMolly


The folding table, unsurprisingly, introduced some wobble to the view through the eyepiece, although probably not enough to ruin an alignment unless someone kicked the table. Sandbags to hold down the folding table might help. As with using any tabletop telescope, you want to use a small-enough table that you can still reach the eyepiece from all sides, which can make picnic tables difficult to use. That said, I wouldn’t put this setup on a folding table when there are children or pets running around.


This tabletop tripod brings ultimate portability to an already portable, yet powerful, telescope setup like the NexStar SE and Evolution series. You could even buckle it into your car this way! While it is not as easy to attach to the mount as with the full-size NexStar SE tripod (there is no slot for the raised area around the bolt holes to drop into to line it up) it is much more portable while still being stable enough to operate an 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain. The tripod looks like it has slots that might fit the Evolution better than my SE. It would also work well for attaching a smaller telescope, such as a solar telescope, for both personal use and outreach events. The Celestron tabletop tripod makes the NexStar telescopes truly grab-and-go.

The tabletop tripod is compatible with:
– NexStar SE series – 4SE, 5SE, 6SE, 8SE
– NexStar Evolution series – 6, 8, 9.25, 8HD, and Limited Edition 8HD

MSRP: $99.95


About AstronoMolly

I got into astrophotography in July 2015 after receiving my first telescope as a gift. Much trial and error later, I now have four astrophotography rigs set up in my backyard in Dayton, OH, including one dedicated to variable star and exoplanet transit observations, and I am now also a Contributing Editor at Astronomy Magazine. I love doing STEM and astronomy outreach both in-person at public stargazes and virtually on YouTube and at astronomy club meetings and classrooms across the country. I am an AAVSO Ambassador (American Association of Variable Star Observers), an Explore Alliance Ambassador, and a panelist and broadcaster for The Astro Imaging Channel weekly YouTube show. I have a B.S. in Physics from Washington State University, and am currently pursuing my PhD in Nuclear Engineering while snuggling with my two cats, Orion and Apollo.

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