Best Ship Parts – Starfield

If you read our guide on ‘How to Build a Ship‘, then you might be wondering what the best parts are for your ship. After all, no one wants to make a sub-par space-faring vessel. When you enter the ship building / upgrading screen, it can be quite daunting because there are so many numbers and stats for each part. However, once you dig in, you’ll find the game does a good job relaying to you in the interface which parts are better. Let us show you what we mean.

This guide goes into great detail on all the key aspects of ship parts — if you’re just here to see the lists of best parts, skip ahead to the Best Ship Parts section of the guide.

When you are just starting out, and you want to upgrade parts, the best places are definitely the major cities – New Atlantis, Akila City, and Neon. Each spot has different parts, which can make it frustrating if you just want the best right away. However, if you have the resources, we suggest building your own large landing pad at a settlement. This is hands down the best option because it will be stocked with most available parts. However, there will still be parts (like the engine Poseidon DT230 Engine) that can only be bought at Ship Services in major cities, so it’s best to still shop around from time to time.

starfield best parts guide large landing pad
Building supplies and resources can be purchased at general stores in big cities

That being said, there are also shipyards owned by parts manufacturers that have exclusive parts. You will want to swing by these locations whenever you see one in a system to make sure there aren’t any upgrades for your ship. For example, the Stroud-Eklund Staryard in the Narion system has the most powerful engine available, the SAL-6830. Here’s a list of ship manufacturers and staryards (that have parts) and their location:

  • Hopetown, Polvo (Planet), Valo System
  • Stroud-Eklund Staryard, Dalvik (Spacestation in moon’s orbit), Narion System
  • Deimos, Mars (Spacestation in orbit), Sol System
  • Taiyo Astroneering, Ryujin Tower in Neon (City), Volii Alpha (planet), Volii System

We’ll start with the main systems of the ship because that is likely what players see first and think about when upgrading and choosing better parts. The three columns on the left side represent your ship’s weapons, and the three on the right are the engines (ENG), shields (SHD), and grav drive (GRV). While you’re flying your ship, the weapons will be labeled with what type of weapon is in that slot, meaning they can be labeled in a variety of ways. For example, the columns might say PAR, BLA, MSL, which stands for Particle, Ballistics (cannons), and Missiles. On the other hand, when upgrading, they will be labeled with the slot number, W0, W1, and W2.

starfield best parts guide core systems
Systems on systems

When you are browsing available parts, you’ll notice that the bars on the columns will go up and down. This indicates how much power the part needs to function at 100%. Generally speaking, the more power that a part takes, the better it is. Another pretty obvious indicator is the price – you get what you pay for. We found that looking at the most expensive parts first was a good way to see what premium gets you. If you can’t afford it, then you can start looking at the mid-price options.

You do need to be careful, though, because sometimes there will be hidden costs associated with keeping your ship ‘Nominal’. Let’s use an example: you buy the most expensive Grav Drive, but it has more ‘Mass’ than your previous one. Then your Flight Check tells you that you might want to add more engines to keep your ship mobile. Now you need to add more Habs, so you have a spot for more engines. You can see how upgrading can snowball quickly, especially if you’re just hunting for the best parts.

starfield best parts guide too much mass
Keep an eye on your mass

This is where we get into the scary group of numbers at the bottom of the building / upgrading screen. The big limiter, as we saw in the example above, is the ship’s mass (bottom-right number). If this exceeds a certain threshold, then you will have to add more engines, or replace them with better ones, so your ship can move. It’s easy to tell when any of these numbers are sub-nominal because they will go red. When they’re white, they’re nominal, and when they’re blue, they’re optimal. Let’s look at each of these bottom specs in turn and talk about how they affect your ship:

  • Weapons – These are the three farthest left stats, and they represent the hull damage that each weapon does.
  • Hull – This is your ship’s health.
  • Shield – The level of shield protection on your ship.
  • Cargo – How much space is in the Cargo Hold.
  • Max Crew – The number a crew mates that can be on the ship.
  • Jump Range – The number of light years that your ship can grav jump.
  • Mobility – The Maneuverability of your ship.
  • Top Speed – The highest maximum speed of your ship (while boosting).
  • Mass – The size of your ship.
starfield spaceship guide spaceship stats v2
For this ship, the Hull is optimal, while the mobility and mass are sub-nominal

It wouldn’t be an RPG if there wasn’t some kind of progression with the game’s mechanics, and the ship system is no different. There are about ten different skills that affect different aspects of a ship, but there are only two that change what ships and ship parts are available to players. The best ships and parts are locked behind certain skills that the player will have to acquire. The first is the Piloting skill. After ranking it up, the player will be able to pilot higher classes of ships. These ships (and their parts) are better, if not outright, then in at least one or two noticeable ways.

starfield best parts guide piloting skill
Must be nice getting those upper-class ships

The other skill is Starship Design; it allows players to attach better parts to their ship. The better parts are not necessarily of a different class, so even if you are sticking with Class-A ships (the first class), you will want this skill to get better upgrades. While neither of these skills are mandatory for tinkering with ships, those of you that are more interested in having the best ship out there will want to invest in them.

starfield best parts guide starship design
You can throw a lot of skill points into ship stuff

There is only one common trait that every part on a ship shares, and that’s that they take up mass. Similarly, almost every part (except structural parts) add to your ship’s Hull stat. Other than those, parts are unique and can drastically influence different stats and systems on your ship. Of course, there are better and worse parts, but a lot of optimizing will come down to what skills you have available, and what kind of ship you want. Here’s a list of each type of ship part:

  • Cockpit
  • Engine
  • Fuel Tank
  • Landing Gear
  • Landing Bay
  • Weapons
  • Habs
  • Reactor
  • Structures
  • Grav Drive
  • Shield Generator
  • Cargo Bay
  • Docker

As you level up, more and more ship parts become available to your character – parts trickle in at most level ups. Consequently, we will give the best parts list for each category at certain character levels. Let’s go through each of these main categories of ship part and talk about their properties, preferable configurations, and best parts.


Shields are a fairly linear progression as you unlock them through the levels. They do become substantially better as you unlock more parts through Starship Design, and higher classes of ships with Piloting. However, there are a couple instances, like at level 25, where the class-B option is actually better than the class-C. Showing that for some parts, it can pay off to level up those skills more slowly.

The best Shields in Starfield are:

  • Class A Shield – Deflector SG-20 Shield Deflector
  • Class B Shield – 11T Defender Shield Generator [requires Piloting Rank 3]
  • Class C Shield – 101D Guardian Shield Generator [requires Piloting Rank 4]
starfield parts guide level 10 shield
  • Class A Shield – Deflector SG-35 Shield Deflector [requires Starship Design Rank 4]
  • Class B Shield – 28T Defender Shield Generator [requires Piloting Rank 3, Starship Design Rank 4]
  • Class C Shield – Assurance SG-1000 Shield Generator [requires Piloting Rank 4]
starfield best parts guide best shields
starfield parts guide level 40 c shields
starfield parts guide level 60 shields

Grav Drives become better in almost every way when jumping classes. Max power and Grav Jump Thrust will increase your max jump range; Hull and the Grav Drive health affect ship and system durability.

The best Grav Drives in Starfield are:

  • Class A Grav Drive – R-2000 Alpha Grav Drive
  • Class B Grav Drive – NG200 Grav Drive [requires Piloting Rank 3]
starfield parts guide level 10 g drive
  • Class A Grav Drive – R-4000 Alpha Grav Drive [requires Starship Design Rank 2]
  • Class B Grav Drive – RD-1000 Beta Grav Drive [requires Piloting Rank 3]
  • Class C Grav Drive – NG300 Grav Drive [requires Piloting Rank 4, Starship Design Rank 1]
starfield best parts guide best grav drive
starfield parts guide level 40 c g drive
starfield parts guide level 60 g drive

Reactors are very interesting due to the fact that at some (lower) levels you don’t get a lot more power generated the higher the class of ship. Instead, the repair rate and reactor health is what increases, making your higher-classed ship more resilient (but with more mass). At those later levels, you will really start to see a big difference in ‘Power Generated’ between ship classes. A good way to increase a reactor’s energy output is to invest in the Aneutronic Fusion skill.

The best Reactors in Starfield are:

  • Class A Reactor – 124 MM Toroidal Reactor
  • Class B Reactor – Z-Machine 1000 Reactor [requires Piloting Rank 3]
  • Class C Reactor – Theta Pinch A9 Reactor [requires Piloting Rank 4]
starfield parts guide level 10 reactor
  • Class A Reactor – 144 MM Toroidal Reactor [requires Starship Design Rank 2]
  • Class B Reactor – Z-Machine 2020 Reactor [requires Piloting Rank 3, Starship Design Rank 4]*
  • Class C Reactor – Theta Pinch B9 Reactor [requires Piloting Rank 4]

*The Z-Machine 2000 has more power generated, but a lot less hull protection.

starfield best parts guide best reactor
starfield parts guide level 40 c reactor

*Not available at outpost landing pad
*Available at Hopetown on Polvo in Valo System

starfield parts guide level 60 reactor v2

Engines are similar to reactors in that the more premium parts won’t change much in the way of ‘engine thrust’ (speed) between different classes – actually, class-A is usually the fastest. They will, however, receive a considerable improvement to ‘engine health’ and ‘maneuvering thrust’, which will make them handle better and take more hits. There are also some instances where there are two engines that are very similar, but one might have more mobility and the other require less power. We found that mobility, and dodging attacks and missiles, is more advantageous, so we listed those engines as the best.

The best Engines in Starfield are:

  • Class A Engine – White Dwarf 3000 Engine [requires Starship Design Rank 1]
  • Class B Engine – Nova 1000 Engine [requires Piloting 3]
starfield parts guide level 10 engines
starfield best parts guide best engine
starfield parts guide level 40 a engine

*Available at Stroud-Eklund Staryard in the Narion System after finishing the quest, All That Money Can Buy. Note: Slayton CEO must survive quest.

starfield parts guide best engine v4 6830

Weapons are really the most difficult to characterize because there are not only different types, but they also serve different functions. Don’t forget that if you’re building, you can attach multiples of the same exact weapon for more firepower. The different types of weapons are as follows:

  • Missiles (MSL) – Effective against shields and hulls, but slow reload.
  • Ballistics (BAL) – Effective against hulls, not shields
  • Lasers (LAS) – Super effective against shields, not hulls.
  • Electromagnetic (EM) – Super effective against ship systems.
  • Particle (PAR) – Effective against both shields and hulls.

As you can see, there can be any number of weapon combinations. If you want to board enemy ships, then including an EM weapon on board is recommended. PAR weapons are more expensive and become much more powerful with higher classed ships, the advantage being you don’t have to switch between weapon types. Ultimately, your weapon choice will come down to how you play and what type of ship you want.

The best Starship Weapons in Starfield are:

  • Class A Weapons
    • W0 – Atlatl 270A Missile Launcher
    • W1 – Flare-P 15 MW IR Pulse Laser
    • W2 – Mauler 104L Autocannon
  • Class B Weapons
    • W0 – Atlatl 270B Missile Launcher [requires Piloting Rank 3]
    • W1 – Flare-P 15 MW IR Pulse Laser
    • W2 – Mauler 104L Autocannon
  • Class C Weapons
    • W0 – Atlatl 270C Missile Launcher [requires Piloting Rank 4]
    • W1 – Flare-P 15 MW IR Pulse Laser
    • W2 – Mauler 104L Autocannon
starfield parts guide level 10 weapon
  • Boarding Enemy Ships
    • W0 – Spark 750 Suppressor
    • W1 – Flare-P 15 MW IR Pulse Laser
    • W2 – KE-20 A Autocannon
  • Class A Weapons
    • W0 – PBO-40 Auto Electron Beam [requires Starship Design Rank 4]
    • W1 – Singe 4MW Laser [requires Starship Design Rank 2]
    • W2 – KE-20 A Autocannon
  • Class B Weapons
  • Class C Weapons
    • W0 – PBO-300 Auto Alpha Beam [requires Piloting Rank 4]
    • W1 – MKE-4 Gauss Cannon [requires Piloting Rank 4]
    • W2 – Atlatl 270C Missile Launcher [requires Piloting Rank 4]
starfield best parts guide best weapons
starfield parts guide level 40 b weapon

*Not available at outpost landing pad
*Available in Akila City

starfield parts guide level 60 weapon

Cargo receives some much better cosmetic options with the first rank up in Starship Design. For all the options, you basically get more space for adding more mass to your ship. The nicer ones give ships more cargo in a single container, as opposed to attaching several to your ship, saving on connectors. There are also shielded cargo bays that help smuggle contraband. All in all, cargo bays are pretty subjective depending on how large of a cargo hold you want.

The best Cargo Bay in Starfield is:

  • Most Cargo – Caravel V103 Cargo Hold [requires Starship Design Rank 1]
  • Most Shielded Cargo – 200CM Ballast Shielded Cargo Hold
starfield parts guide level 10 cargo
  • Most Cargo – Galleon S203 Cargo Hold [requires Starship Design Rank 2]
  • Most Shielded Cargo – Caravel V102 Shielded Cargo Hold [requires Starship Design Rank 1]
starfield best parts guide best shielded cargo
  • Most Cargo – Galleon S204 Cargo Hold [requires Starship Design Rank 3]
  • Most Shielded Cargo – 10ST Hauler Shielded Cargo Hold [requires Starship Design Rank 2]
starfield parts guide level 40 cargo
  • Most Cargo – Galleon S204 Cargo Hold [requires Starship Design Rank 3]
  • Most Shielded Cargo – 10ST Hauler Shielded Cargo Hold [requires Starship Design Rank 2]
starfield parts guide level 40 cargo

Fuel Tanks are pretty simple, in that the more money you spend on one, the more light years you can jump. The real difference you get for buying premium, and investing Starship Design skill points, is less mass.

The best Fuel Tank in Starfield is:

  • Most Fuel – Titan 450 He3 Tank
starfield parts guide level 10 fuel
  • Most Fuel – H20 Atlas He3 Tank [requires Starship Design Rank 2]
  • Best Fuel to Mass Ratio – M50 Ulysses He3 Tank [requires Starship Design Rank 4]
starfield best parts guide best fuel tank
starfield parts guide level 40 fuel tank
starfield parts guide level 40 fuel tank

These are all mostly aesthetically different, with more premium parts giving some extra hull points. Players shouldn’t be too concerned about them unless they want a specific look or feel while building a ship. Otherwise, the main effects that a Cockpit and Habs will have on a ship is how much crew can be aboard. This stat is further augmented by the Ship Command skill, which allows you to have more crew.

starfield best parts guide switching habs
You can change the variant of some parts

We hope this guide was helpful, and that it made upgrading your ship a little easier to figure out. Did you find any parts that made all the difference? Tell us about them in the comments!

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Kelson H.
Kelson H.

Kelson is a spud head from out west. He is most happy when holding a milky tea with too much honey and playing a sprawling role playing game or reading a fantasy novel. His video game tastes vary but his main genres are looter shooters, RPGs, and real time strategy games.

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Ronhin
Ronhin
8 months ago

What about the poseidon DT230 engine?

Goose
Goose
8 months ago

I believe the SAL-6830, although prohibitively expensive is in fact the best engine in the game. It can be found at the stroud enkland shipyard, I can see it at level 29.

engine.jpg
Goose
Goose
Reply to  Goose
8 months ago

Can’t seem to edit, but it is only 2 power, so you can have 6 of them. If you multiply 6x this engines stats it is better than 3x the DT230, only problem is the added mass. I believe the added power should balance out for the mass, although you would have to add more landing gears most likely.

greenled
greenled
Reply to  Kelson H.
7 months ago

hey i see that you guys didn’t end up adding the SAL-6830, or atleast i can’t see it. You should add it as stat wise it is the best engine but do note that it is unlocked during the quest “all that money can buy” if you don’t kill the slayton ceo.

greenled
greenled
Reply to  Kelson H.
7 months ago

I think it’s because it’s unlocked through a quest as a “secret reward” so that if you complete the quest correctly at a low level you get a sweet engine that you can use

Lunali
Lunali
Reply to  Goose
8 months ago

The added power doesn’t balance out the mass, at least for me. Six of these produce a significant decrease in maneuverability compared to three of the DT220s (don’t have DT230s yet)

Faeloce
Faeloce
8 months ago

Hey,
You have the reactor Pinch 8Z from Xiang who have slighly better stats. ;3

Pinch 8Z.jpg
Faeloce
Faeloce
8 months ago

It’s me again.. X’D
On the W0 weapon slot for C class spaceship, you can have better laser with the Alpha Obliterator 250 MeV.
3 can be used at the same time (to reach 12 power consumption) and they can shoot at a 1.5 ROF with 160.23 dmg, for total damage of 721.
The PBO 174 Auto can be installed 4 time (3X4 power consumption) and can shoot at a 6 ROF with 27.23 dmg, for a total of 653.
The range is also slightly better 4225 against 3900. ;3

Obli 250 MeV.jpg
Faeloce
Faeloce
Reply to  Faeloce
8 months ago

I also use the Auto PBO-300 for the second weapon slot. ^^

Auto PBO-300.jpg
Xanthus
Xanthus
Reply to  Kelson H.
8 months ago

My guess would be because you drain each weapon bank individually,
It allows for massive alpha strikes,
you could have all 3 banks as long range particle beam groups (all have to be different types, even auto) but you could leave one, or even two banks underpowered as most dogfights will be over in seconds

Faeloce
Faeloce
Reply to  Kelson H.
8 months ago

Hi,Sorry i haven’t see your answer.As Xanthus imagined, this combination offer a huge burst of damages and allow me to easily swap on of weapon model with one for non lethal missions. ^^
I’ll add that you can have a better engine if you perform well in a mission for Shroud CEO, the SAL 6830.I usually pair two of them with two DT230.The only issue with the SAL serie is the ratio weight/power delivered, but the ratio consumption/power is unmatched.

SAL-6830.jpg
Last edited 8 months ago by Faeloce
Faeloce
Faeloce
Reply to  Faeloce
8 months ago

Crap i’ve forgot that you’ve allready spoke about the SAL 6830, don’t mind it. ^^”
(I haven,’t been able to edit my post. :x)