Review: SkyWatcher FlexTube 250P (10″ Collapsible) Telescope

Author: Luna Gregoria


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For many people, a 10” Dobsonian is the perfect size to balance cost, weight, and performance. It’s not the largest Dob, but go much bigger and you have a monster you wouldn’t want to carry. An 8” Dobsonian is a wonderful telescope… so surely the bigger brother must be as well. At least, that’s the idea. Is the SkyWatcher FlexTube 250P the right 10” Dobsonian for you? Like all Dobs in this size range, none of them do anything glaringly wrong. But each Dob brand has a few differences. The primary difference between the FlexTubes and the competition is the collapsible tube, which has some pros and cons of its own.  

Total Score

7.6/10: Very good, but not the best

Score Breakdown (out of 5)

Optics: 4

Focuser: 4

Mount: 3

Moon & Planets: 4

Rich Field: 4

Accessories: 4

Ease of use: 4

Portability: 3

Value: 4

Read our scoring methodology here.


  • It’s a light bucket: 10 inches of aperture will satisfy most observers.
  • Collapsible tube can save space in some conditions.
  • Handles on the rockerbox make it much easier to carry than other Dobsonians.


  • Collapsible tube actually adds weight.
  • Open tube can worsen light pollution.
  • Bearings are a little stiff.

The Competition

A 10” Dobsonian is the best bang for your buck in general--so you’re on the right track if you’re considering one of these for visual observing. However, among the Dobsonians, there are cheaper options. The Orion SkyQuest XT-Classic, Apertura DT10 (GSO budget/night-watch line), and SkyWatcher Classic 250P, are all more affordable, and there’s very little in the way of compromises there. They all have the same optics, the mounts may have differences but all are usable and have their own subtle pros and cons. The differences between these telescopes are really pretty minimal, and any of these 10” dobs will show you amazing things. The Apertura AD10 (or Zhumell Z10 or GSO deluxe line) is a lot heavier, but its accessories are a better value for the money. The Orion SkyQuests are a fair bit lighter, but they have a red dot finder instead of a real finderscope. At the end of the day, there’s two main reasons to choose this telescope:

  1. If 13” of reduced vertical space solves a problem you have. It might fit under a cabinet or in a compact car a little better.
  2. The carry handles are probably the only convenient way to carry the telescope around. (Also applies to Classic 250P).
If I did it again, I’d probably get the Classic 250P, to avoid some of the quirks of the FlexTube and save a bit of weight and money. But none of the quirks are obtrusive enough to really get in the way of enjoying my time with this telescope. Overall, I can recommend this telescope.  

Our Verdict

The FlexTube 250P is a quirky scope, but it’s a fine example of a commercial imported Dobsonian. Although it’s hard to keep it balanced when pointing near the horizon, and the long handles sometimes jab me in the stomach when I’m trying to observe near the zenith, usually these issues fade away and leave me floating between the stars, immersed in the deep sky.

The Flex Tube system is not always especially useful, and I suspect it’d be more useful with the much larger long-focal-length 12” and 14” models, but it does allow me to fit it in the trunk of my small car and actually bring passengers. You should be aware that some of the solid tube Dobsonians are equally good optically and may be cheaper or less quirky.

Skywatcher FlexTube 250P: Recommended.

OTA Skywatcher 10

Skywatcher Flextube 250P

Rating: 3.8/5