Star Trek is one of the most celebrated franchises in the entire world, and why shouldn’t it be? Since its inception over 50 years ago, this franchise has helped recruit (pardon the pun) entire generations of fans. And we’ve had several different shows to help us explore the frontiers of this awesome universe. While there have been some notable exceptions, such as Deep Space Nine and Voyager, the heart of Star Trek has always been the Starship Enterprise. Fans quickly understood that the ship was as much of a character as Kirk or Picard was, and everyone became defensively protective over “their” Enterprise.
Of course, this leads to the inevitable fan debates of which version was the best. While all the fans love Star Trek, what they arguably love even more is constantly comparing show and characters to each other. Is Kirk better than Picard? Is Spock better than Data? These debates have raged for years, and they show no sign of letting up anytime soon. Those arguments are long and bitter because they are subjective. How do you determine if one character is better than another? That’s why we like to stick to arguments that you can easily prove. For instance, which Starship Enterprise is the strongest of them all? There have been quite a few ships to bear this name over the years, and not all of them are equally powerful. How can you figure out which ship is strongest without setting off an angry internet debate? It’s simple: replicate yourself some Earl Grey Tea and keep scrolling to read which version of the Enterprise is the best of the best.
15 THE VERY FIRST
Here at the top of our list is the very first Starship Enterprise. While it’s true that Earth Naval vessels had previously had the title, this was the first starship with the name. Furthermore, it was the first Earth vessel that specifically sought out new life, under the command of Captain Archer.
This ship was immensely powerful for its day and time, boasting phasers, photon torpedoes, and even a newfangled transporter device. However, this ship was built a whopping one hundred years before the adventures of Captain Kirk, which is why everything else on this list is a little bit higher.
14 ENTERPRISE MIRROR UNIVERSE
As time went on, the Enterprise creators felt more comfortable creating connections to The Original Series. Eventually, we got two episodes of Enterprise set in the infamous “mirror universe” in which all our familiar and friendly characters are maniacal and manipulative. This meant that, technically, we got a new Enterprise.
We don’t get to see a whole lot of this Enterprise in battle. However, the opening credits alone show us that in this warlike reality, weapons systems are a higher priority. You never know when a single ship might need to bombard a planet! So, for having weapons built with no scruples whatsoever, this mirror ship edges out the original Enterprise.
13 DISCOVERY'S ENTERPRISE
Part of what makes it difficult to evaluate some of these ships is that we haven’t seen much of them yet. For instance, this next ship is the familiar Starship Enterprise from Kirk’s day, but with a twist: this is the version of the ship we see on Star Trek: Discovery.
However, the ship only pops up in the last minutes of the last episode of Discovery’s first season. Aside from cooing over the sexy modern design of the ship, we haven’t seen yet what this baby can do. That’s why this ship is at the bottom of the list in terms of Kirk-era ships.
12 THE CLASSIC
Your first Starship Enterprise is a lot like your first boyfriend or girlfriend: there will never be an experience like it ever again and for most Trek fans, that first experience occurred during the Original Series with Kirk’s familiar Starship Enterprise.
Over three seasons, we got to see what this ship could do. It was capable of beating Romulans in a pitched battle, and on any given day, it could travel backwards in time. Basically, any ship with Scotty could do just about anything, making this one of the most powerful ships for its time period, and the Enterprise, like Scotty himself, would only get better with age!
11 ENTERPRISE MIRROR UNIVERSE, PART II
Like the Enterprise of Captain Archer’s era, there is also a Mirror Universe version of Captain Kirk’s Enterprise and for many of the same reasons, we are forced to rate this new Enterprise as just a little bit higher than its primary universe counterpart.
We don’t see this “evil” Enterprise in a lot of combat. However, we do see them threatening to destroy an entire planet’s population as a form of punishment. In this way, this Enterprise is as deadly as the Death Star from Star Wars, and it gets the nod for being more powerful than the main universe ship that we know and love.
10 THE MOTION PICTURE
Many casual fans think that the Enterprise in the first Trek movies was the same as the one in the show. However, this isn’t entirely true. While this is still the trusty NCC-1701, the ship receives an extensive refit in-between the end of Kirk’s five-year mission and the beginning of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
This refit was far from being only cosmetic. It got upgraded phaser banks, a better torpedo launcher, and an entirely new engine. It was these refits that helped the ship survive its encounter with V’ger, but unfortunately, Kirk would eventually have to self-destruct this ship to save it from Klingon capture.
9 THE REFITTED ENTERPRISE
Shortly after the destruction of the refitted Enterprise (and after Kirk and his crew helped save planet Earth), Starfleet presented a new Enterprise with the NCC-1701 A. Visually, this ship was basically the same as the previous one: the creative teams of these movies were still using the old models.
However, we’re giving the 1701-A an edge over the original because it would have benefited from having the most recent weapons and other tactical advantages. It also had a brand new style of warp core (the same style later used on the Enterprise-D), which may give the ship another advantage in combat and pursuit.
8 THE ENTERPRISE-B
In man ways, the Enterprise-B is the ship we know the least. It only appeared at the beginning of Star Trek: Generations. However, during a crisis -- and with the help of Captain Kirk -- this Excelsior-class ship was able to demonstrate why it was more powerful than previous vessels to bear that name.
It was a running joke in the movie that this ship was missing several key components (all arriving “on Tuesday”), and that the ship setting out was basically a PR stunt. However, even missing these components, the Enterprise-B survived the reality-warping The Nexus and managed to save 47 people, including fan-favorite character, Guinan.
7 THE ENTERPRISE-C
The Enterprise-C had a unique design. It was an Ambassador-class ship, and we would rarely see this ship class again (at least, outside of Peter David’s amazing New Frontier novels). But thanks to Star Trek: The Next Generation, we know how important, and powerful, this ship really was.
In “Yesterday’s Enterprise,” we see this ship come through a time portal into the future. This ended up altering reality into an ongoing war between Starfleet and the Klingons. The ship is sent back through the portal into what was allegedly its doom with four Romulan warbirds attacking at once. Nonetheless, the ship seemingly survived the barrage because the Romulans took prisoners (including a reality-displaced Tasha Yar) back to their homeworld. Bottom line? It’s one tough ship.
6 THE KELVINVERSE
Next up is the Enterprise from the rebooted Star Trek movies. This ship is from a different universe (the Kelvinverse), but fans might be surprised to see it this high up on the list. After all, isn’t this basically the same ship from The Original Series?
In actuality, this is only the same ship when it comes to the general design. In terms of sheer size, this vessel is larger than any of the previous ones on this list, and it even rivals Captain Picard’s Enterprise-D. Aside from size, it seems to have power and endurance, as it survives attacking Nero’s stolen ship, which canonical comics tell us was outfitted with Borg weaponry and other scary weapons from nearly a hundred years in the future.
5 STAR TREK: BEYOND
As we said before, some of the ships on this list are ones we haven’t really seen in action. That means we had to have Mr. Data boot up the Sherlock Holmes program and help us brush up on our deductive skills. That’s what we did with this next ship, the Kelvinverse 1701-A.
We only really see this ship being built in the last few minutes of Star Trek: Beyond. That means we don’t know what all it can do in terms of strength and speed. However, it’s an updated and upgraded version of a ship that was already powerful, so we’re confident about its place on the list.
4 THE ENTERPRISE-D
Next is one of the most iconic ships on this list -- the Enterprise-D. Under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, we have seen this ship tested in a variety of ways and by a number of deadly foes. That’s why we feel confident about placing it so highly on the list.
This is basically the only ship that survived attacking the Borg when they first assaulted Earth. It has also survived encounters with giant crystals, hostile armies, and a malevolent, god-like being. It boasts powerful shields, strong engines, and top-of-the-line phasers and photon torpedoes, and as a tactical option, the saucer section can be separated, forcing enemies to suddenly fight a two-front war.
3 THE ENTERPRISE-E
As cool as the Enterprise-D was, it couldn’t last forever and after its destruction, it was replaced with a new ship in the Sovereign-class Enterprise-E. We see this ship for several movies, and that lets it firmly establish itself as the strongest Enterprise in this particular timeline and reality.
This ship personally led the charge in destroying a Borg cube when it attacked the Earth. Later, it was able to take out multiple enemy ships at once in The Briar Patch area of space. Finally, it is used to disable the giant Reman ship named the Scimitar in the most metal way: by ramming it! Ultimately, it’s helpful to have such a tough ship helmed by someone as tough as Captain Picard.
2 THE MODIFIED ENTERPRISE-D
Star Trek basically wrote the book on things like alternate timelines and altered realities. So, it’s not much of a surprise that one of the strongest ships on this list is from a future that will never happen. What is it? It’s the modified Enterprise-D that we see in the future timeline of “All Good Things.”
We know this ship has powerful engines -- after all, it’s got a third nacelle. We also know it’s strong, too as it’s able to take out a powerful Klingon vessel with a single shot. So, even though we don’t see this ship on-screen that much, we’re confident that it’s almost as tough as they come.
1 THE 1701-J
The show Enterprise was deliberately set in the past as a kind of prequel to Kirk’s adventures. Nonetheless, Captain Archer and crew often got involved in weird time adventures with foes from the future, and this meant getting a glimpse of the toughest Enterprise of all in the 1701-J.
Archer is actually taken onboard this ship by a Temporal Agent so he can get a glimpse of how the future could potentially change. There could be peace with the Xindi, or possibly endless war. As for the ship itself, it’s a Universe-class vessel that is from the 26th century -- its tech should blow everyone else out of the water!