What different types of globe can you buy?

Spinning, historical, inflatable, illuminated, levitating, relief, educational, magnetic, cork & pin, paper, folding, puzzle, bar, heirloom, handmade, art, wooden, custom…

Here’s our guide to the best globes of every type, from the lightest of inflatable globes to the heaviest of bar globes, you can buy from globemakers and globesellers around the world.

solar-powered spinning blue Earth relief globe from MOVA

Spinning Globes

There are plenty of globes that’ll spin for a moment if you give them a good nudge, but there are not so many that’ll spin indefinitely.

  the best spinning globes in the world
Facsimile of Martin Behaim's 1492 'Erdapfel' globe  from Greaves and Thomas globemakers

Historical Globes

Some of the most beautiful globes you can buy today have historical designs, either direct facimiles of globes from centuries past or contemporary designs inspired by globemaking history.

  the best historical globes in the world
Blue Meridians handmade porcelain globe from The Little Globe Co

Handmade Globes

While most globes are mass-produced these days, some, like those of centuries past, are made by hand. Handmade can mean many things: hand-turned, hand-plastered, hand-painted, hand-papered, or even, in the case of glass globes, mouth-blown!

  the best handmade globes in the world
Inflatable globe

Inflatable Globes

No matter what size of globe you’re looking for, you won’t be able to beat an inflatable globe for price. Be warned, however: these blow-up globes might leave you breathless!

  the best inflatable globes in the world
Illuminated globe

Illuminated Globes

Illuminated globes have become so popular that in some stores you’ll have trouble finding a globe that doesn’t come with an internal light! Check out our guide to some of the more unusual illuminated globes you can buy.

  the best illuminated globes in the world

Levitating Globes

Levitating globes are suspended mid-air by magnets controlled by complex electronics. If you want a globe that defies gravity, take a look!

  the best levitating globes in the world
Black art globe with gilded copper continents from Luke Calder showing Asia and Australia

Art Globes

Every globe is, to a degree, a work of art. Some artists, however, have turned to globes as the inspiration for their more abstract artworks.

  the best art globes in the world
The Kiel Relief Globe at the Christian Albrechts University, Kiel

Relief Globes

Raised relief globes, which show mountain ranges as crinkles on the surface of the sphere, have been around for a while. Recently, however, globemakers have been taking three-dimensionality to the next level.

  the best relief globes in the world

Educational Globes

In my mind, every globe is educational, a reminder that we live on a small planet. Some globes, however, go a step further, helping children to learn about the world in a surprising variety of fun ways.

  the best educational globes in the world

Magnetic Globes

Always forgetting where you are in the world? You might want to place magnetic markers on a metal globe to remind you not only where you are, but where you’ve been, where you’re going, and what’s happening where.

  the best magnetic globes in the world
Cork and pin globe with white continents from Suck UK

Cork Pin Globes

As a more natural alternative to placing magnetic markers on a metal globe, try putting pins in a cork globe. You’ll get better precision and you can buy as many extra pins as you need from your local stationer!

  the best cork pin globes in the world
wooden globe from Spirals by Steve made from hexagonal and pentagonal pieces with black oceans and coloured states and countries

Wooden Globes

Though wood has long been used to make the bases for globes, only recently have globemakers turned to this most natural of materials to make the globes themselves.

  the best wooden globes in the world
Facsimile of John Betts' 1850 portable terrestrial globe made of paper from Greaves and Thomas globemakers

Paper Globes

Did you know that you can make a globe out of paper? Take a look at these simplest of all globes.

  the best paper globes in the world
icosahedral globe partially folded from magnetic triangles

Folding Globes

Not all globes are made spherical! Icosohedral globes are folded from 20 triangles, giving a surprisingly satisfying view of the Earth.

  the best folding globes in the world
mechanical plywood puzzle globe from Mr. Playwood

Puzzle Globes

A fun way to experience a globe is to get one in pieces and assemble it yourself!

  the best puzzle globes in the world
Alfeo Laguna desk bar globe from Zoffoli

Bar Globes

Hiding your drinks inside a globe is surely one of the strangest ideas in the history of globemaking, not to mention the history of drinking.

  the best bar globes in the world
Facsimile of Vincenzo Coronelli's 1688 terrestrial globe from Greaves and Thomas globemakers

Heirloom Globes

Some globes are built not just to last a lifetime, but to be passed down through the generations. If you’re looking for a globe that’ll become a family heirloom, take a look at these timeless globes.

  the best heirloom globes in the world
Detail of Melbourne on a customized globe from Lander and May

Custom Globes

Gone are the days when every globe was the same: these days, you can order a globe customized to show the places you’ve been.

  the best custom globes in the world

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Beautiful, tactile, custom wooden globes

Image of Inflatable globe (cropped) by Vicchi reproduced under CC BY-SA 2.0

Image of Illuminated globe (cropped) by Martin Pettitt reproduced under CC BY 2.0

Image of Das Kieler Weltrelief (cropped) by m.prinke reproduced under CC BY-SA 2.0

Image of White Cork Globe (cropped) from Suck UK reproduced with permission