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Globe Buying Guide

Which Room Will the World Globe Be Displayed In?

The first factor in deciding what kind of world globe is right for you is to keep in mind where it will be displayed. Is the world globe heading for a living room, bedroom, library, office, classroom or somewhere else? Are you looking for a world globe that is mostly decorative or one that will be used primarily as a geography reference tool? What is the style of the room the world globe is intended for--more traditional, contemporary or a mix between the two? Generally speaking, world globes that feature metal bases are more appropriate for modern settings while ones that incorporate wood or have an antique styled map are better for traditional rooms. Is the world globe going to go on a tabletop surface or would a floor globe be more appropriate? It is also crucial to consider how much space is available for the globe in the room.

Glass or Acrylic Globe

Columbus globes are usually made out of one or two materials. The spheres are either acrylic plastic or glass. The German manufacturer remains the only company in the world that still hand-blows glass globes of this size. Columbus has used this traditional process over their 100 year history, keeping the craft alive and well. The glass world globes are more expensive and fragile, but they are of a higher quality than the acrylic spheres, giving the map more brilliant illumination and clearer cartography. Still, Columbus was the first manufacturer to ever make acrylic world globes. Acrylic globes are lighter weight than glass globes and generally less expensive. Plastic spheres are also more perfectly shaped as they are made by machines rather than handmade like the glass world globes. The decision between a glass or acrylic globe mostly comes down to budget and how much value you place in a hand crafted product.



Illuminated or Non-Illuminated

Columbus is known for their illuminated globes, which can support either LED or incandescent bulbs. Many of the maps on Columbus' world globes display additional geographic features when the sphere becomes illuminated. These world globes are powered by wall cords that come out of the base rather than the south pole of the sphere. While the vast majority of the German manufacturer's products are illuminated, there are a few non-illuminated spheres available in the Mini Globe and Desktop Globe sections.

Floor Globe vs Desktop Globe

Another choice is between a desktop globe and floor globe. Floor world globes are taller and typically have larger diameter spheres than their tabletop alternatives. Desktop globes are shorter and often have smaller diameters. The biggest consideration making this decision is where the world globe will go. How large is the tabletop space that the desktop world globe is going or how much space do you have available for a floor model? Explorer our desktop globes section to find the perfect tabletop model. From world globes that are 10 inches (the Voyage) in diameter all the way up to 20 inches (the Franklin), there are many sizes available for the right table. Alternatively, experience the beauty of Columbus' expert craftsmanship and cartography with the stunning floor globe collection. For an impressive and attractive addition to any room, peruse Columbus' diverse floor world globe collection.



Floor World Globe

Map Style

All of the text on Columbus globes is in English. To get an in depth breakdown on the entire selection of map types available, please visit our Map Style Guide. However, briefly, the most important considerations to think about when choosing a map for your world globe is the ocean color--do you prefer blue, antique or a no traditional color? Also, which type of map do you want for your world globe: a political one that places emphasis on place names and country divisions, or a physical map, which shows the planet's relief in its natural colors?

Base Style

There are many different bases on offer at Columbus. With metal bases, wood bases, plastic bases and combinations of all of these elements, there are many ways to frame your world globe and to make it stand out. The glass world globes are held by thicker metal stands to support their heavier mass. The acrylic world globes are framed by sleek, thin metal frames that display a modern design sensibility. Wooden bases, like the one from the Frankfurt, portray a handsome, classic flavor. For educational world globes for students of classrooms, our plastic bases are able to withstand the wear and tear that comes with frequent use. Again, the room that the model is intended for will be the greatest consideration to help filter the choices for your world globe's base.



Desktop World Globe Base

Size & Price

How big of a world globe should you purchase? With globes, it is the bigger the better. The larger the world globe the easier it is to read the cartography. Also, with bigger spheres, more geography can be fit onto the model, allowing for greater detail. However, the grander world globe, the more expensive it is. The size of the world globe must be limited by the amount of space available. So we recommend buying the biggest globe that your budget and available space will allow.