When it comes to Elite: Dangerous, you'll find dozens of suggestions for the best ship in the game. This is because the contested position isn't really held by one ship. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses, and the answer to what the best ship is really lies in whichever ship you like to use the most. Whether it's because of the looks or the way it manoeuvers or how much range its jump has, everyone seems to have their own personal favorite.
The three most expensive ships in the game, the Anaconda, the Federal Corvette, and the Imperial Cutter, will almost always trump the lower-cost ships, but they're relatively unattainable until you've forged a name for yourself in Elite: Dangerous.
Other than the big three, there are plenty of other ships to choose from. To help you decide which one might become your favorite, we've put together a list that highlights a few ships and what they excel at.
- Best ship for combat
- Best ship for mining
- Best ship for trading
- Best ship for exploring
- Best multipurpose ship
Best ship for combat
Combat ships generally have powerful weapons, thick armor, and are great at maneuvering. They excel at bounty hunting and generally blowing other ships out of space.
When starting out a career that involves combat, you probably want to grab a ship that is agile and that can take a beating but doesn't cost a lot. If you make a mistake and happen to get yourself and your ship in trouble, you want to be able to replace it.
In the role of budget combat ship best for starting out, check out the Viper Mk IV. It has decent armor, can make a lengthy jump, and only costs about 400,000 credits for a base model. Some people will stick with the Viper Mk IV for their entire combat career, but others might want to upgrade.
The Vulture is one of the agilest ships out there; it has decent armor and shields, and it will cost about five million credits before outfitting it to your needs. If maneuverability is high on your list, definitely check out this effective ship that remains relatively low-cost.
Best ship for mining
Most aspiring prospectors seem to start their mining careers in an Asp Explorer. It has plenty of internals for your drone limpet controllers, it has decent cargo space for your haul, and the jump range is high enough to get you where you're going. If things get hairy, it has lots of armor.
Pilots looking for something that can bite back if some aggressive NPCs come to check out your operation might want to have a look at the Python. It has a ton of cargo space and isn't quite as much of a sitting duck as the Asp Explorer.
Best ship for trading
The Type-7 Transporter seems to be a popular choice if you want a pure trading ship, but it is quite vulnerable to attack. For only about five million credits more, you can grab an Imperial Clipper that is way faster and will usually get you out of any jams with its speed alone. Keep in mind that the Clipper is restricted to large pads.
If you're looking for something that works with medium landing pads and outposts, the Python is a great option with a ton of cargo space. It can also defend itself, and, if you decide to upgrade to a better trading ship in the future, you can retroactively turn the Python into a smuggler or combat ship.
Best ship for exploring
For some players, the wide-open galaxy in Elite: Dangerous is too tempting to not explore. Those who are drawn to flying to every corner of the game are probably looking for a ship mostly dedicated to their purpose.
Jump range is important here, so have a look at the Asp Explorer and the Diamondback Explorer. The Asp Explorer has a wide-open cockpit which is especially nice, but it also costs about three times as much as the Diamondback.
If you aren't sure you're an explorer by heart, or if you don't have Horizons, the Hauler is an inexpensive, shuttle-looking ship with a good jump range. It does suffer from internal space, but for starters it's a great ship.
Best multipurpose ship
Some pilots can't keep their fingers out of anything; they want to mine asteroids, they want to smuggle slaves, and they want to reach the far-flung corners of the galaxy. That's not a problem if you don't mind having a fleet of ships, but some pilots get attached to their steel hulls and want to stick with one at a time.
In that case, you really have to look at price against performance. If you're extremely wealthy and want something luxurious, the Imperial Cutter and the Federal Corvette can be outfitted pretty much any way you want, but you need the military rank to unlock them.
However, if you want to spend a little less and want to do less outfitting, the Anaconda is probably your best all-around bet if you still want something luxurious.
Again, at about a third of the price, you can't count out the mighty Python. No, it isn't as big or as fancy as the Anaconda, but it's a ship you can buy relatively early on in the game and stick with for your entire career, no matter what it entails, if you so choose.
Your pick for best ship in Elite: Dangerous
Do you agree with our choices here? What is your pick for the best ship in Elite: Dangerous? Let us know!
Besides picking a great ship, there is a ton of information to digest when it comes to Elite: Dangerous. To help you get a grasp on the galaxy, check out our beginner's guide!