Best Globes

Updated July 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

17 Models Considered
5 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
132 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best globes

Last Updated July 2019

Globes can be used for both decoration and education. They can be found in libraries, dens, studies, classrooms, and universities. Much like what they represent, globes are universally present. Antique globes haunt the shelves of bookstores and libraries, while more contemporary globes have homes in social studies and geography classrooms.

Globes have existed for more than 500 years and are considered a mainstay in many homes and classrooms. Globes are such a popular symbol that they adorn jewelry, clothing designs, and even tattoos. They act as a symbol for wanderlust and peace.

A globe can be a difficult purchase, especially for a gift. While the age of the globe may seem unimportant, it should be factored in when making a purchase. If you’re purchasing a globe to use as an educational tool on current countries and boundaries, then it’s best to purchase new. Indeed, there are many options, but we’ve selected our favorites and created this guide to help you find what you need.

The word “globe” is derived from the Latin word “globus,” which means sphere. It’s thought that the oldest surviving globe is called “Erdapfel.” It was supposedly wrought by Martin Behaim in 1492.

Considerations

Age of globe

Sure, you could purchase a globe at a thrift store or antique shop, but most likely, it wouldn’t be up to date. Antique globes are usually used as decorations. However, they can also be used as historical markers and teaching tools. They show the world as it was when the globe was manufactured. They also exemplify the technology available at the time. Whereas some modern globes are actually “smart” globes that say the names of countries, antique globes are likely to have been painted individually. Some may even be handmade.

Intended use

  • In a classroom: In a classroom setting, there are multiple aspects to consider before purchasing a globe. First, think of what age group will be learning from the globe. Second, consider what class the globe will be for. There are topographical globes available for geography courses. Some globes feature only country capitals and country names, while others label even more specifically.

  • At home: When purchasing a globe for the home, think of the timeliness of the globe. Are you purchasing the globe as an accent for a den or study? Then whether the globe is up-to-date or not doesn’t matter. Are you purchasing the globe to use as a teaching tool for children? Then buying a new globe would be the wisest choice because kids will be able to see the most current country boundaries and names.

  • For a collection: If you’re a collector of globes and purchase them for aesthetic appeal, pay attention to the materials the entire globe is made of. Were they maintained properly? Is the globe’s stand susceptible to rust or degradation? Are the colors bleaching from the globe’s surface? It’s possible to have globes restored, but searching for quality ones from the start will best complement a collection.

Celestial vs. terrestrial globes

Be sure you know the difference between a celestial globe and a terrestrial globe. In almost every case, you will be wanting to purchase a terrestrial globe, which is a representation of Earth. However, for decorative purposes, a celestial globe can be a beautiful piece.

DID YOU KNOW?

There are 195 countries in the world spread across seven continents and four oceans. In those 195 countries, there are at least 4,416 cities that have a population of 150,000 or more.

Features

Color and texture

There are globes available that showcase the topographical features of every region. These are the “bumpy” globes, and they are usually used for outdoor professions and geography classes.

However, most globes are smooth and are differentiated by the coloring style — usually bright colors or subdued hues.

Some globes avoid colors as a stylistic choice. Instead, they are black and white or sepia-toned. Those shades lend a rustic look to the globe, which makes it a desirable decorative piece. Usually colors are used for ease of differentiating countries and boundaries rather than for aesthetic appeal.

Size

Most globes range from 12 inches to 15 inches in diameter, which is perfect for placing on a writing desk. However, there are smaller globes available. Those can be collection pieces, placed in a curio cabinet or on a shelf.

Floor globes are another style. These globes have a stand of three or four feet tall upon which they rest. The globe itself is usually about 15 inches in diameter. A floor globe could serve as an accent piece in a library or den, or it could be used for educational purposes.

Globe prices

Basic globes cost somewhere in the range of $30 to $50. These globes are usually made of plastic and have about a one-foot diameter. They are designed to fit atop a desk and may have one or two unique features.

Pricier globes can cost between $50 and $90. These include “smart” globes that may have touchscreens along with globes with built-in illumination. High-end globes tend to cost more than $100. These are most likely handmade, hand-painted, and constructed of quality materials that don’t rust or break easily.

EXPERT TIP

Consider purchasing a globe to use as an aid during homework time or as a visual aid when explaining geography to your child.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Celestial globes are used in astronomy and astrology. However, these globes don’t show the sun, moon, and planets; they only show stars, constellations, and celestial bodies.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

It may seem like a globe is a globe is a globe, but that’s not always the case. Consider a few helpful tips before purchasing to ensure you’re buying the globe that’s right for you.

  • Explore the features of an interactive globe before purchasing. Some may talk, while others may illuminate or glow in the dark.

  • Check if the globe needs batteries. If so, find out if batteries are included in the package or not.

  • If your child isn’t old enough for a desktop globe, consider an inflatable globe.

  • Invest more money in a better globe if you plan to use it for years to come.

Other products we considered

There are a multitude of globes available, and we’ve compiled some honorable mentions. There’s the Replogle Globes Franklin World Globe, a handcrafted globe that features an antique-finished base. This globe features more than 4,000 place names.

There’s also the Inflatable Political World Globe, which is a good choice for small children. This globe is created from heavy-duty non-7 phthalate vinyl, which won’t easily deflate, rip, or tear. You can create interactive games with this inflatable globe for classroom activities or at home.

It’s thought that the distance from the North Pole to the South Pole is about 25,000 miles. The entire surface area of Earth is calculated at 196.9 million miles squared. A globe represents these distances more accurately than a flat map because of its spherical shape.

FAQ

Q. What’s the difference between a globe and a map?
A.
Besides the obvious difference of one being flat and one being spherical, maps are used for finding routes and roads to certain places. Globes are used for seeing a larger picture of the world. Highways and rural routes are rarely noted on a globe. If you’re traveling, a map would be best for figuring out directions, whereas a globe would be useful for planning a worldly trip.

Q. After purchase, how long does a globe remain “up-to-date”?
A.
Most globes can be used for one or two years, barring major boundary changes in the world. Globe manufacturers boast that they update their globes on a yearly basis. That isn’t to say older globes are wrong, necessarily; it just means that you should be aware when using one that there may be discrepancies since its creation.

Q. In terms of physical durability, how long do globes last?
A.
Most globes are made of vinyl or plastic. While these materials aren’t expensive, they are durable. After purchasing a globe, you can own it for years without it falling apart or breaking.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer
  • Samantha
    Samantha
    Writer

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