Simply put, a telescope collimator is the act of aligning (collimating) the optical components of a telescope so that light will come to a focal point on the object (e.g., Jupiter) that you wish to see. Laser collimating allows this process to be completed with ease and accuracy.
In my opinion, a laser collimator is superior to a traditional collimator. No one wants to miss the beauty of a heavenly body because they are busy collimating. Many potential enthusiasts give up on astronomy for the simple fact that they get frustrated with the lack of clarity in their scope. Laser collimation is the best solution to this problem.
Do I need a collimator? If you have a standard (Newtonian) telescope the answer is undoubtedly, yes! Your telescope may come factory collimated, however, during shipping vibrations will have certainly caused the mirrors in the telescope to become misaligned.
Why a laser collimator? As previously mentioned the most common-sense answer to this question is because you will save TIME (especially if you are a beginner). For experts with years of experience and beginners who just opened their first telescope under the Christmas tree, a laser collimator will be your most valuable accessory. After all, time is money.
Some enthusiasts smock at the use of a laser collimator, especially by a novice. Howie Glatter better phrases this as: “the laser was like giving pocket calculators to kids who should be studying multiplication tables”. He goes on to say, however, that laser collimation gives “as much insight into optical alignment as conventional collimation”. Whether your telescope simply did not come with a collimator, or your head is about to explode in frustration because you can’t even focus on the moon, a laser collimator is the answer to your problem.