[Top 5] Elite Dangerous Best Exploration Ships (2020 Edition)

Best exploration ships in Elite Dangerous in 2020
Watching a beautiful sunrise over the main system star

Learn about the best ships for exploration in Elite Dangerous.

Is the black calling out to you?  Exploration is one of the most popular ways to make a living in Elite Dangerous.  Life outside the bubble is as dangerous as it is beautiful though, and you’re going to need the right ship.  Keep reading to discover some of the best ships for the job.  Grab your fuel scoops commanders, it’s time to see the galaxy!

1. Diamondback Explorer

A Diamondback drifting through an asteroid belt looking for a good view

Like its name suggests, this small entry level ship specializes in exploration.  It can perform its role effectively without complicated and expensive modifications.  The Diamondback Explorer is the perfect choice for new commanders looking to make a career in exploration.  

What’s Awesome about the Diamondback Explorer

The Diamondback Explorer is very small so it’s able to land anywhere.  Unfortunately, only being able to fit a small fuel scoop which is a bit of a downside.  That’s okay though because it also has one of the longest jump ranges in the game.  Time is money, and this is the best ship for getting around inhabited space quickly without having to worry about landing pad size.  Strap on class A frame shift drive and you’ll leave your wing mates in the dust.

  • It’s very inexpensive and well within reach even for complete beginners.  It’s a great stepping stone to get your career started. The low cost also means it’s a great choice for learning the ropes of exploration.  Insurance is cheap, so you won’t have to shell out millions every time you spiral into a neutron star or run out of fuel in a cluster of brown dwarfs.  Don’t worry, we’ve all been there!

Diamondback Explorer Details

  • Cost: 1,894,760 CR
  • Insurance: 94,738 CR
  • Stock Unladen Jump Range: 15.70 ly
  • Maximum Unladen Jump Range (non-engineered): 41.61 ly
  • Optional Internal Compartments

            -2x Class 1

            -2x Class 2

            -2x Class 3

            -2x Class 4

  • Hardpoints

            -2x Medium

            -1x Large

            -4x Utility

How to Get the Diamondback Explorer

The Diamondback explorer is available right off the bat without any rank grinding required.  So head over to the nearest station with a shipyard and pick one up today!

2. Krait Phantom

A Krait Phantom drifting through the balck on the way to its next destination.

The Krait Phantom truly embraces the role of a multipurpose ship.  This stripped down version of the Krait MkII trades a bit of firepower for a much longer jump range.  This gives it the perfect combination for commanders who want to mix it up between exploration and combat.

What’s Awesome about the Krait Phantom

  • The Krait Phantom will take you to any corner of the galaxy in comfort.  The jump range is great and won’t leave you wanting anything more. It also comes packed with an impressive array of slots for optional internals which means you’ll be able to pack along everything that you need for a long journey.  You may soon find your wing mates begging you for repairs and fuel!
  • Though the ship’s hardpoint placement does obstruct the cockpit’s view of the glorious surroundings, they do make PvE combat incredibly fun.  Watching your weapons blasting away on either side of you is very satisfying. Especially compared to other explorer options, the Krait Phantom can certainly hold its own against NPC threats.  Being interdicted on your way back into the bubble no longer means certain death, at least for you! You can finally travel confidently and keep your precious exploration data safe.

Krait Phantom Details

  • Cost: 37,472,254 CR
  • Insurance: 1,873,612 CR
  • Stock Unladen Jump Range: 9.78 ly
  • Maximum Unladen Jump Range (non-engineered): 34.79 ly
  • Optional Internal Compartments

            -1x Class 1

            -1x Class 2

            -3x Class 3

            -3x Class 5

            -1x Class 6

  • Hardpoints

            -2x Medium

            -2x Large

            -4x Utility

How to Get the Krait Phantom

The Krait Phantom is a bit pricey, so to get your hands on it you’ll need  to grind some cash first. The moment you leave the station in your new ride though, you’ll know it was worth the effort!

3. Orca

An Orca gazing at the Milky Way through an icy ring

The Orca is a stylish ship which excels at a combination of exploration and passenger missions.  It has a great jump range and is able to equip luxury class passenger cabins. This high end ship is known for its looks and will definitely turn heads as it glides past.

What’s Awesome about the Orca

  • Being one of the smoothest rides available makes this ship a pleasure to pilot even while in super cruise.  Maneuverability is one of its biggest strengths, so you’ll have no problem strafing around points of interest to get a good look.  You won’t find a sweeter ride than this to cruise through the void. 
  • Since you’ll be travelling to some very exotic places, a good view is a must.  Seeing the galaxy unfold through the Orca’s sweeping front window is a truly luxurious experience.   
  • Though it may not be the perfect dedicated exploration ship, its long jump range and luxury cabin space make it the best ship for its role.  Luxury passenger missions go hand in hand with exploration. Mission objectives will take you to lore heavy systems in the bubble as well as some of the most stunning places across the galaxy.  Additionally your destinations will often include one or more Earth-like worlds for you to map. By stacking cartography data with mission rewards, you’ll be rolling in the dough in no time!

Orca Details

  • Cost: 48,539,887 CR
  • Insurance: 2,426,994 CR
  • Stock Unladen Jump Range: 10.52 ly
  • Maximum Unladen Jump Range (non-engineered): 36.17 ly
  • Optional Internal Compartments

            -1x Class 1

            -2x Class 2

            -1x Class 3

            -1x Class 4

            -3x Class 5

            -1x Class 6

  • Hardpoints

            -2x Medium

            -1x Large

            -4x Utility

How to Get the Orca

The sticker price does match the high class nature of this ship, so expect to grind some credits before you can pick up this beauty.

4. Anaconda

An Anaconda making a pitstop before beginning it's long journey

The Anaconda is a massive ship that can perform just about any role in the game.  It makes for an amazing exploration ship that can be refitted for PvE combat, mining, or trading.  This is absolutely one of the best and most versatile ships available.

What’s Awesome about the Anaconda

  • Even though it handles a bit more like a brick than a finely tuned spacecraft,, this is the perfect ship for exploration optimization.  The Anaconda is by far the best ship to min/max for this role. It will require an enormous amount of engineering and large bank breaking modules to realize peak performance.  At the end of the day though, it is nothing short of astounding.
  • It has the longest potential jump range available in the galaxy.  If you want to get to Beagle point in record time, this is the ship for you, period.
  • It comes loaded with insane internal compartment slots.  You’ll be able to pack everything and the kitchen sink for your long journey!    

Anaconda Details

  • Cost: 146,969,450 CR
  • Insurance: 7,348,472 CR
  • Stock Unladen Jump Range: 9.41 ly
  • Maximum Unladen Jump Range (non-engineered): 41.45 ly
  • Optional Internal Compartments

            -1x Class 1

            -1x Class 2

            -3x Class 4

            -3x Class 5

            -3x Class 6

            -1x Class 7

            -1x Class 5 Military

  • Hardpoints

            -2x Small

            -2x Medium

            -3x Large

            -1x Huge

            -8x Utility

How to Get the Anaconda

The Anaconda is incredibly expensive and won’t realistically be available to you until you have several hundred hours of piloting under your belt.  When the time comes for you to pull the trigger though, head over to Ray Gateway in Diaguandri to buy it and outfit it with a 15% discount. With a purchase this large you will end up saving yourself millions of credits.

5. Asp Explorer

An Asp Exploerer stopping by a star for a quick refuel before jumping off to the next system

The Asp Explorer is also named after its primary function, and wow does it live up to its name.  In my opinion this is the best exploration ship hands down. This is the best ship to purchase, outfit, and engineer if you really want to experience the beauty of the galaxy.

What’s Awesome about the Asp Explorer

  • The Asp Explorer doesn’t lack anything to do its job to perfection.  It has one of the best jump ranges available and the internal compartment slots to fit everything you need to live comfortably out in deep space for as long as you want. 
  • The cockpit is what really sets this ship apart from other options.  “Breathtaking” is really the only word to describe how amazing the galaxy looks from this ship.   Being surrounded by glass on all sides gives the sensation that you’re suspended above the awe-inspiring vistas that you’ll find while exploring.  If you’re a serious explorer, you’re going to spend a lot of time away from civilization with only your ever-changing surroundings to keep you company.  Especially if you have a VR headset, do yourself a favor and pick up an Asp Explorer today. 

Asp Explorer Details

  • Cost: 6,661,153 CR
  • Insurance: 333,057 CR
  • Stock Unladen Jump Range: 13.20 ly
  • Maximum Unladen Jump Range (non-engineered): 38.19 ly
  • Optional Internal Compartments

            -1x Class 1

            -2x Class 2

            -3x Class 3

            -1x Class 5

            -1x Class 6

  • Hardpoints

            -4x Small

            -2x Medium

            -4x Utility

How to Get the Asp Explorer

Thankfully, the Asp Explorer isn’t too expensive and can be rushed relatively easily.  The engineers necessary to make this ship shine are also all available early so you can enjoy the full potential of this ship a lot sooner than you might think.

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Bryan left the deep snow fields to travel to far away lands in search of ancient adventure. When low on health his feline companion provides him with all the healing salves necessary to continue his
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