This page details how to get the best Freighters in No Man’s Sky. Includes how to get your first Freighter for free, and how to get an S class tier Freighter with your preferred appearance. If you want to know more about how to upgrade the Freighter, see our page on How to Upgrade the Freighter. For everything related to Frigates, see our How to Send Frigates on Expeditions page.
How to Get Your First Freighter for Free
Get the Hyperdrive and Economy Scanner Upgrades
The average Freighter can cost an immense amount of Units to purchase, and a lot of time to fully upgrade. Thankfully, there’s a mechanism in the game which allows you to get your first Freighter for free. The only requirements are that you have the Hyperdrive module for a Starship, or the Singularity Cortex for a Living Ship, either of which will allow you to warp to new systems. Ideally, you’ll also have the Cadmium Drive, Emeril Drive, and Indium Drive upgrades for a Starship, allowing you to travel to any system type (between red, green, and blue stellar bodies), while the Living Ship is capable of doing this by default. Finally, it will be useful to have the Economy Scanner upgrade installed on your ship, which allows you to access detailed economic data about systems from the Galaxy Map. This will be most useful if you want to ensure that your first Freighter is S tier (more on that below).
Warp to New Star Systems
Once you have the above upgrades installed on your Starship or Living Ship, you can begin warping to new star systems with the intention of finding a Freighter. To do this, you can access the Galaxy Map from the quick access menu and browse nearby systems. If you have the Economy Scanner installed, you should be able to differentiate between poor, moderate, and wealthy systems without having to travel to them first. This will be indicated by the number of stars shown next to the economy icon when you hover over a system. One star indicates a poor system, two stars indicate moderate wealth, and three stars indicate a wealthy system. If you want the best chances of finding an S tier Freighter to begin with, you should only travel to wealthy systems. It may take up to 5 warps with the Hyperdrive before you encounter a Freighter, so be sure to have enough Warp Cells or Warp Hypercores crafted to fuel the journey.
Defeat the Pirates and Speak With a Freighter Captain
As you warp into a system with a Freighter present, you’ll notice immediately that a battle is taking place. This will always be in the form of pirates attempting to raid the Freighter cargo, and it becomes your task to defend the Freighter by defeating the pirates. This should be a fairly easy job so long as you have a decent Starship or Living Ship with sufficient upgrades to its offensive and defensive capabilities. If you find that your ship isn’t quite up to the task, see our guide on How to Upgrade the Starship and Living Ships before you continue. As a general rule, you’ll probably find it easier to stay one position as you shoot at the pirates, since this will force them to come to you. You can then back up as you blast them with the Photon Cannon to destroy their shields, then finish them off with a Rocket Launcher attack if necessary. The number of pirates that you’ll need to defeat will vary, but there can be anywhere from 3 - 10+ that you need to defeat before the Freighter is safe.
Once you’ve defeated all the attacking pirates, you should get a mission update to board the Freighter and speak with the captain. However, there won’t always be a mission update for this, but you can just board the Freighter regardless. The docking area should be marked by an icon on the Freighter, but if it’s not you’ll be looking for a blue light similar to that which emits from docking bays on space stations. Inside, you’ll find a Starship hangar and two sets of metal steps, which lead to the bridge of the Freighter. Head up these and into the main control room, where you can speak with the captain. When you do, you’ll discover that the captain is tiring of the burden of Freighter ownership, hinting that you may be able to relieve them of it by offering to buy the Freighter. This is actually the same encounter that you’ll experience with all captains on Freighters, but in this case you can acquire the Freighter for free if you wish. If you don’t want the particular Freighter on offer, you can choose to accept payment from the captain for defeating the pirates instead.
How to Get an S Tier Freighter
Hyperdrive Range, Warp Efficiency, Storage Space, and Fleet Coordination Stats
It’s important to note that unlike with Starships and Multi-Tools, there is currently no way of upgrading the class tier of a Freighter beyond the tier it has when you first find it. This means that if you find a B tier Freighter, it will always be a B tier Freighter. The main limitations this brings are to base stats such as Hyperdrive Range, Warp Efficiency, Storage Space, and Fleet Coordination. Each of these can have important consequences for the capabilities of your Freighter, so it’s worth considering whether or not you should wait for an A or S tier Freighter instead. If the main purpose of your Freighter is going to be using it as a mobile base, a higher tier may not be entirely necessary. However, if you want to maximize things like storage space and Hyperdrive range, a higher tier Freighter becomes much more desirable.
Freighter Appearance Variations
In addition to base stats, you may not be satisfied with the appearance of the Freighter that you’ve encountered. You don’t have to settle for this either, but it’s worth noting that if you want to wait for the discovery of an A or S tier Freighter with decent base stats and an appearance that you like, it can take a long time. The main reason for this is that each system has a unique set of Freighters present in it, so if you’re not finding anything you like in one system, you will need to travel to another to find an entirely new set of Freighters with unique appearances.
The good news is that if you find a Freighter with an appearance that you like, it will always spawn in that system whenever you warp to it, alongside numerous others. Better still, if the desired Freighter is of a low class tier and doesn’t have great stats, you can actually re-warp into the system to reset the base stats of each Freighter in it, giving you a chance of finding a Freighter with the same appearance, but as an S tier with decent stats. If you want to be extra careful and ensure that you will be able to find the same types of Freighters in the same system, you can always make a hard save before you visit.