Updated: October 14, 2016

Globe Reviews:

Choosing the Best Globes - When you were a kid, did you ever close your eyes, spin the globe, and point just to see where it landed? Would you travel to Asia, Europe, the Antarctic, the Indian Ocean? Not only is it important to know where we are located geographically on a globe or map, it is just as important to close our eyes and imagine where we'd like to be. Globes help us learn about different countries and their geographic location to each other, as well as their topographical features; globes can teach us about longitude and latitude; globes can put our place on earth in perspective. And globes make a pretty cool office decoration. No matter why you want a world globe, you certainly have a lot of options from which to choose. From Old World and Antique Ocean globes to inflatable and edible globes, you can find it all. How do you find the right one?

Finding the Right Globe - There is really no "wrong" globe. Any globe has something to teach, but there are globes that will be better suited for your needs. Here are some things to think about before you buy:

*Who are you buying it for, and what do you want from your globe? Do you want a raised relief globe that shows the world's topographical features? Do you want an elegant antique globe? An illuminated or interactive globe? A globe bar? Hey, why not? They're fun. There are also globes designed specifically for children. Every world globe shows us the earth, but not every globe does it the same way.

*What size do you want? There is a wide range and you can find more compact models for your desk or larger globes that are more like pieces of furniture.

*How much do you want to pay? You can buy an accurate world globe for $10 - or a gorgeous antique-looking floor globe for $8500.

Another factor to consider, which relates to all of these others, is the brand. Some top manufacturers include Replogle, the world's largest globe manufacturer, National Geographic, Artline Globes (for, of course, artistic reasons), Cram, and Nova Rico. You can browse the best selling globes and maps here.

Best Globes:

Let's start out with a fun globe. And an inexpensive one. What could be better? The 12-Inch Inflatable Globe from Learning Resources is a crowd favorite. The inflatable globe helps you make a game of geography as you teach children continents, countries, capitals, and oceans. Kids in the US are notoriously lacking in geography education, so this can be a fun way to give them the basics. Whether playing games or hanging for display, this is an excellent choice for families and classrooms. With the Learning Resources globe, you will get a repair kit and an activity guide. One Amazon reviewer traveled with the globe to a jungle farming village in the Philippines in order to show people where she was from in relation to them. Many had never seen a map before. She couldn't have brought a "real" globe, but this one did the trick perfectly. And for just over $5, you can't go wrong. A world away is the Artline SQ Series Onyx 12" Black Desk Top Stand Globe. This elegant globe makes a lovely gift for any passionate cartographer or anyone who appreciates beautiful art. The Onyx Globe comes on a hardwood base finished in deep black. The globe itself features opaque black oceans, delicately silkscreened white land masses, and gorgeous silver latitude and longitude lines. While the Learning Resources inflatable globe is designed for functionality and play, this is designed for appreciation. The price reflects this; the Artline globe is $180. You can find other exceptional - but not exceptionally practical - Artline world globes on Amazon. What about a globe that you can't bring to the beach and which actually has geographical information for you? Try the Replogle Globes Traveler Globe. When you are looking for world globes, you can't help but run into this name again and again. Highly respected by both experts and consumers, Replogle globes are known for their wide variety of styles and for their quality. The 12 inch Traveler has a smoke black plastic base, typical blue/multi color scheme, and raised relief features. Many people buy it for homeschooling, and it is advanced enough to be useful for high school and college students as well. You can find the Traveler for $43. Serious scholars will love the National Geographic Society's Satellite World Globe. It has a satellite's-eye view of the world with classic styling reminiscent of antique globes but with thoroughly modern cartography. It features the most current and accurate geographic information and National Geographic's award-winning cartography. Its acrylic base allows you to remove and reposition the globe. You've got the whole world in your hands with this one. It is a well-spent $63. If you want a fun, interesting globe to teach your children about the world around them, get the Fascinations Celestial 8" Globe. Or rather, get two of them. They are great for anyone who is interested in the geography under their feet and above their heads. This globe features two globes in one. You see earth by day and constellations at night. An advanced optical sensor automatically activates the illuminated display of 88 constellations when the room darkens. This is an excellent learning tool for young and old - and it makes a terrific night light as well. Floor globes tend to be more expensive than desk or table globes, but they are wonderful for aesthetic appeal, especially for world travelers. And what could be more aesthetically pleasing than a bar globe? Especially popular with reviewers is the Sixteenth-Century Italian Replica Old World Globe Bar from ecWorld. This fun, and educational, bar measures 37 inches H x 22 inches D and depicts the natural world on a deep wood background. Inside are paintings of 16th Century Renaissance Gothic Greek maps, which are utterly charming and incredibly detailed. The large, rotating bar has ample room for your favorite beverages and stemware, and it makes a great focal point for any home. This globe bar is $130. Whether you're looking for fun, education, art, or a good martini, you can find it with today's best globes. When you get it, close your eyes and see where you will go next, if only in imagination.