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Best Reactors in Starfield

By
Nathan Garvin

Reactors are a vital ship component in Starfield that serve several purposes - generating power for your ship’s various subsystems, increasing your hull and adding more crew capacity. Picking out the right reactor for your ship can have a significant impact on how successful you are at various tasks, chiefly emerging victorious in ship-to-ship fights. This page will discuss reactors and suggest the best reactors we’ve discovered for various tasks.

(1 of 2) Your reactor powers all your subsystems, including your weapons, shield, engines and grav drive.

Your reactor powers all your subsystems, including your weapons, shield, engines and grav drive. (left), The Aneutronic Fusion skill will boost your power generation, regardless of what your reactor's stats are. (right)

What Do Reactors Do in Starfield?

As mentioned earlier, reactors have three main stats:

  • Power generation: Key subsystems, like your weapons, shield, engines and grav drive all consume power, up to 12 ticks of power per subsystem. Reactors generally give between 14-30~ power, and there are a lot of hungry mouths to feed. Granted, not all subsystems need to be fully powered at the same time - you don’t need your grav drive during combat, and you don’t need your weapons during travel. You also rarely need your engines and grav drive at full power, and depending on the shield and weapons you can, you may be able to skimp on them, too. We’re not going to make the case that less is more when it comes to reactor power, but managing your consumption can sometimes be a better option than just buying a more powerful reactor, especially since you can only have one and there is an upper limit to their power generation.
  • Hull: Hull is your ship’s durability. The higher your hull value, the more damage your ship can withstand before being destroyed. In addition to generating power for your ship’s various subsystems, reactors also determine the majority of your ship’s hull - usually to the tune of hundreds based on the reactor, while other components will generally add five hull each.

  • Crew Capacity: A secondary (and complicated) ship stat, Crew Capacity is one of several factors that determine how many crew members you can assign to work on your ship at a time. The reactor adds the most crew of any individual component, ranging from 1-3 Crew Capacity depending on the exact reactor, but other, smaller components like weapons, shields and engines also contribute, and collectively may contribute more to Crew Capacity than your reactor. Check out the Ship Stats page for more details about Crew Capacity.

None of the above should be all that confusing, reactors determine your power, your ship’s health, and contribute towards the number of crew members you can assign. Great. Lovely. The only problem is that reactors don’t all contribute to these stats equally. Some reactors are more focused on power generation, others sacrifice power generation in favor of greater hull. In addition, reactors vary in mass (more massive components can reduce your ship’s max speed and mobility, necessitating more engines - see the Ship Systems and Power Generated section of the aforementioned Ship Stats page, size (some are 2x2 chonkers, most are 1x1), repair rate, reactor health and class. Of these remaining, as-of-yet undiscussed secondary stats, class is by far the most important.

A reactor’s class (ranked A, B and C, from lowest to highest) determines what components that reactor can power. A Class A reactor can only power Class A weapons, shields and engines. A Class B reactor can power both Class A and B weapons, shields and engines, and a Class C reactor can power Class A, B and C weapons, shields and engines. That said, there’s a lot of good stuff in Class A, and while there is some correlation between a component’s class and quality, it’s not a strict correlation (for example, we’re fairly fond of the White Dwarf 3000 line of engines, which are Class A). Class B and C reactors are usually more expensive and sizeable than Class A ones and generally their quality correlates more with class than other components, as reactors gatekeep what other components you can install. You must reach rank 3 in "Piloting" iconPiloting to use Class B components, and rank 4 to use Class C components.

Which is The Best Reactor in Starfield?

With all that out of the way, let’s talk about the “best” reactors in Starfield, keeping in mind, of course, the nuance involved in that statement.

The Fusor DC 410 reactor may be the best overall reactor, but it's large, heavy and pricey.

Fusor DC401 Reactor

One of the more straight-forward picks, the Fusor DC401 is a Class C reactor (Piloting rank 4 required) that boasts massive power generation (29), moderate hull (755) and a large Crew Capacity (3). It’s also a 1x1x2 model that has a mass of 90, so you’ll definitely need to build around it. That said, it does everything you want a high-end reactor to do, and has a cost (over 50,000~ credits) to match. If you want a good all-rounder, this isn’t a bad choice.

The Z-Machine 2020 is the opposite of the Tokamak X-120S, boasting a massive hull stat at the expense of power generation.

Z-Machine 2020 Reactor

An odd choice, the Z-Machine 2020 is a Class B reactor (Piloting rank 3 required) that has fairly low power generation (16), but boasts a massive boost to hull (1,100). Compared to other reactors with this amount of power generation, it’s fairly heavy (57 mass), but it retains a smallish (1x1x1) form factor. While relatively cheap (17,000~ credits), it does require "Starship Design" iconStarship Design rank 4 to use, and realistically speaking, its 16 power generation is just not enough - you’ll want Aneutronic Fusion to get this up to a passable 21. If you invest a whole ton of skill points into various ship-related skills, however, you’ll find that this reactors works well for a dedicated fighter ship, something relatively low-mass with two expensive engines, and a decent shield. It’s definitely not a starter engine, however.

The Tokamak X-120S Reactor focuses on power generation at the expense of nearly everything else… but it's a lot of power generation!

Tokamak X-120S Reactor

The opposite of the Z-Machine 2020, the Tokamak sacrifices hull (480) in order to stay light (30 mass), small (1x1x1 form factor) and simple (Class A), but boasts a stunning 28 power generation. If power is your ultimate goal and you want to stay light, this is a reactor to look at, but you will still need Starship Design rank 4 to install it, and it is somewhat spendy (33,000~ credits). You’ll probably use this reactor’s extra power generation to feed a high-end shield to keep yourself alive, although since your selection is limited by the reactor’s class, you’ll have to settle for a midrange model along the lines of a Bastille S83 Shield Generator, which is fine, but you’ll be a glass cannon. Speaking of which, whatever other faults this reactor may have, it does provide the potential for a light ship to power a LOT of weapons. With Aneutronic Fusion maxed (33 power generation) you could simultaneously six weapons (3 power consumption each) while still having 15 power left over for engines and shields. If the enemy is too dead to fight back, it doesn’t matter if you’re a paper tiger, right?

The 154 Toroidal Reactor is a middle of the road reactor that provides a linear upgrade path for ship builders who want to keep things simple.

154MM Toroidal Reactor

The "154MM Toroidal Reactor" icon154MM Toroidal Reactor makes many sacrifices to gain a few boons - it’s only a Class A reactor, its Crew Capacity is 1, and it only offers 600 hull, but it delivers a respectable 26 power generation (which, let’s be honest, is the most important reactor stat) while keeping a small form factor (1x1x1) and weighing a manageable 35 mass. It does require Starship rank 3 to install, but you don’t need a massive investment in Piloting, and other Toroidal Reactor models can be used instead until you get the skill and credits (a significant 30,000~0 to install this one. The "134MM Toroidal Reactor" icon134MM Toroidal Reactor isn’t a terrible early reactor to use in the meantime, and you can slot the superior 154MM Toroidal Reactor in when you’re ready without having to change your starship’s design or aesthetics.

Where to Find Starfield’s Best Reactor Locations?

Getting starship components is easy enough on paper - find a merchant who sells them. Unfortunately these merchants are generally limited to Ship Services Technicians found near the ports of most major cities, and corporate peddlers selling their brand on various staryards. Check out the page How to Buy and Upgrade Ships for the locations of these merchants. The technicians at "Hopetown" iconHopetown and "Akila City" iconAkila City should sell most of these, and whatever they don’t stock, the technician at "New Atlantis" iconNew Atlantis should

For more information on starship building, raising the necessary capital to afford ship components, and, if all else fails, details on getting some ships for free, check out the following pages:

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Guide Information

  • Platforms,
    PC, XB X|S
  • Genre
    Action Adventure, Action RPG, Shooter
  • Guide Release
    30 August 2023
  • Last Updated
    4 October 2023
    Version History
  • Guide Author

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Starfield is an action role-playing game from Bethesda Game Studios set in a futuristic interpretation of space exploration and colonization. Earth has long been abandoned, but there are plenty of other planets in different star systems where humans have ventured and settled. You have the freedom to create your own character with a unique background, but the main story will take you through a series of adventures as you uncover more information about mysterious artifacts which create gravitational anomalies. Along the way, you can build and customize your own space ship, establish your own outpost, befriend and romance new companions, and more. As a Bethesda game, you can also expect to see a lot of creative mods which have the potential to change your experience of the base game, or take it in an entirely new direction.

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