Updated July 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
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.Read more 
Bottom line
Best of the Best
USA Toyz Illuminated Globe
USA Toyz
Illuminated Globe
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Educational Choice
Bottom Line

This light-up design is ideal for star enthusiasts because it projects constellations.


Easy to read due to the light-up LEDs. Includes a booklet of the constellations, descriptions, and the best times to see them. Lightweight yet durable. Serves as a great teaching tool to capture learners’ attention.


Some cities are misplaced. Smaller than many consumers expected.

Best Bang for the Buck
Little Experimenter Illuminated World Globe for Kids
Little Experimenter
Illuminated World Globe for Kids
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Best for Kids
Bottom Line

The light-up feature of this smaller model makes it great for children.


Switch activates several LEDs, meaning it can double as a night light. Colorful map is perfect for teaching young children basic geography. Non-tip base allows for safe display on a desk.


Made of plastic and is smaller than most competitors.

Shifu Orboot Earth Interactive AR Globe For Kids
Orboot Earth Interactive AR Globe For Kids
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Smart Enabled
Bottom Line

An award-winning toy with an interactive app that includes puzzles and quizzes.


Works with a downloadable app that lets you scan a region on the surface to learn more about the area, including highlights and cool facts about the culture, monuments, cuisines, and more.


Does not have any borders or country names, so the learning aspect is completely dependent on the app.

Juvale World Globe for Kids Learning
World Globe for Kids Learning
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Simple Yet Solid
Bottom Line

Offers a fun learning experience with displays of colorful landmasses and political boundaries.


Made with high-quality, made-to-last materials. Rotates for easy viewing and comes with a removable frame and base that allows for versatile display options. Ideal for classroom learning.


Has a small 8-inch diameter, making it a bit difficult to make out some countries.


We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best globes

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 of wanderlust and peace.

A globe can be a difficult choice, especially for a gift. While the age of the globe may seem unimportant, it should be factored in when making a selection. If you’re getting a globe to use as an educational tool on current countries and boundaries, then it’s best to find a new one. 

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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.


Age of globe

Sure, you could find 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 selecting 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 choosing a globe for the home, think of the timeliness of the globe. Do you want the globe as an accent for a den or study? Then, whether the globe is up-to-date or not doesn’t matter. Will you use the globe as a teaching tool for children? Then 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 keep 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 get a terrestrial globe, which is a representation of Earth. However, for decorative purposes, a celestial globe can be a beautiful piece.

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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.


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.


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.


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

  • Explore the features of an interactive globe before you take it home. 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.

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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.


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. 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. You can own a globe for years without it falling apart or breaking.

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