The best ships in Starfield you can get for free

A screenshot of the rear of a Starfield ship, showing a pair of heavy thrusters.
(Image credit: Bethesda)

Starfield ships can be pricy, but the good new is that some of the best ships are actually ones you can get for free. Some of these free ships are so good you won't need to ever replace them. And you're not stuck with these models as-is: Using Starfield's ship building, you can add more cargo space and weaponry to make them even better.

The Frontier, your first free ship, is perfectly capable of handling all sorts of stuff in the first several hours, but you'll eventually find it lacks storage space and strength in space battles. If you want to modify your gear and build outposts, you'll need a lot more storage than the Frontier can offer. Plus, the missions you need to complete for the free ships are fun to do regardless.

I'd recommend waiting until you've spent 6 to 12 hours in Starfield before picking one of these up. Some of the missions could be tough if you're low level, and it takes some time to know exactly what you're looking for in a ship. Once you've done that, check out the list below and choose which one you want to go and collect.

The Razorleaf 

(Image credit: Chris L. / Bethesda)

Mission: MANTIS (gained from looting "Secret Outpost!" from Spacer enemies)
Type: Class A ship
Crew: 2
Fuel: 140
Hull: 469
Cargo: 420 / Shielded capacity: 160

The Razorleaf is basically Starfield's Batmobile. It's a lean, high-damage ship you get for completing the MANTIS quest, which you can pick up from killing Spacers. Only two crewmembers can fit in the Razorleaf and it lacks tons of cargo space, but it's considerably more powerful in ship battles than your first ship, the Frontier.

Star Eagle 

(Image credit: Chris L. / Bethesda)

Mission: The Hammer Falls (Freestar Ranger faction missions)
Type: Class A ship
Crew: 5
Fuel: 140
Hull: 948
Cargo: 2280 / Shielded capacity: None

The Star Eagle is probably the most balanced free ship in Starfield. Compared to the Frontier, it has loads of cargo space for stashing materials, and it can hold five crew members at once. It'll handle space battles just fine with its ultra powerful missiles. As long as you're willing to help the Freestar Rangers out on Akila, this ship should last for your entire first playthrough.

UC Prison Shuttle 

(Image credit: Chris L. / Bethesda)

Mission: Echoes of the Past (Crimson Fleet faction mission)
Type: Class A ship
Crew: 1
Fuel: 200
Hull: 418
Cargo: 1090 / Shielded capacity: None

Not every free ship is a winner. The UC Prison Shuttle serves its purpose in the Crimson Fleet mission where you use it, but as a daily driver it's not particularly impressive. You'll need to head into the ship builder to transform it into more than a space bus with no weapons.  I'd categorize the UC Prison Shuttle as a collector's item rather than something you'd realistically trust to keep you alive in space.

 Kepler R 

(Image credit: Chris L. / Bethesda)
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(Image credit: Bethesda)

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Mission: Overdesigned (after finishing High Price to Pay)
Type: Class C ship
Crew: 6
Fuel: 2800
Hull: 999
Cargo: 3550 / Shielded capacity: None

Say hello to the best free ship for hoarders in Starfield. The Kepler R can carry loads of stuff and isn't bad in a fight either. But there's a catch: The Kepler R is a little tricky to obtain, and it requires you to max out your Piloting in the Tech skill tree.

Your Constellation buddy, Walter Stroud, will send you on a mission called Overdesigned after you've met him in the main story. To finish the mission with the Kepler R instead of the weaker Kepler S ship, you need to pass a persuasion check and be willing to talk a ship designer into making it.

Here's what you need to do to get the Kepler R:

  • Persuade Jules by selecting the "We can build whatever want…" option, then "We need to go big or go home…"
  • Finish the bounty and escort missions 
  • Tell Jules "Let's try teambuilding…" 
  • Have the team repeat positive "I…" statements 
  • Jules will tell you the team is motivated 
  • Return to Walter Stroud and then go dock and board your new ship in the Stroud Eklundd Staryard near Dalvik (Narion system)  

Kepler S

Via YouTube (Image credit: Crimson Flyboy / Bethesda)

Mission: Overdesigned (available after finishing High Price to Pay)
Type: Class B ship
Crew: 3
Fuel: 400
Hull: 689
Cargo: 3200 / Shielded capacity: None

The weaker variant of the Kepler ship from Walter Stroud's Overdesigned mission isn't great. It has a large amount of cargo space, but it's just worse than the Kepler R in every way. You will be gifted this ship if the design team fails to agree with each other. To get it, just do the opposite of the steps above by aiming for a low budget and letting the team flounder.


(Image credit: Chris L. / Bethesda)

Mission: N/A, acquired by progressing through the game with the Kid Stuff trait
Type: Class A ship
Crew: 2
Fuel: 200
Hull: 502
Cargo: 800 / Shielded capacity: None

Starfield's Kid Stuff trait forces you to send money home to your parents as you play the game, but also rewards you with a free ship. Visit your parents in New Atlantis often enough and eventually your father will mention winning a ship from a card game and give it to you. It's technically the easiest free ship to get, but nobody knows what prompts your dad to talk about it.

The Wanderwell is exactly the kind of ship that someone would win from a card game. It's merely average in every respect. It'll get you around the galaxy with its 27-lightyear jump range, and it'll perform well in combat with a 28 ballistics stat. But you'll need to do a lot of work to get this thing to compete with Starfield's other free ships.

Spoilers below for what happens when you finish Starfield's main story

(Image credit: Tyler C. / Bethesda)

Starborn Guardian 

(Image credit: Chris L. / Bethesda)

Mission: One Giant Leap (Earned by starting New Game+)
Type: Class A ship
Crew: 5
Fuel: 1500
Hull: 649
Cargo: 950 / Shielded capacity: 150

Starfield rewards you with one of the best ships in the game once you enter New Game+. You need to finish all the main story missions and start the game again to wake up in this powerful ship. You can't modify it, but it comes with incredibly strong weaponry and a solid amount of cargo capacity. Finishing the game up to six more times will reward you with increasingly better versions of it.

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.