Essential for almost any game, worth keeping track the best light armor, heavy armor and shields in Skyrim.
Generally, the armor you choose will depend on your play style. Classes that require decent skill to sneak past enemies and quickly escape oncoming attackers will benefit from Light armor. Those who hope to have a close and personal relationship, take a lot of hits but worry less about the stealth approach, will prefer Heavy armor.
Shieldsmeanwhile, it works as an option for those who prefer the benefits of Light Armor, but still want to fight in open hand-to-hand combat, and thus help improve the defensive stats of Light Armor users, while being a bit superfluous. for those who already wear a Heavy set. .
Before we dive into the details of the best sets and individual pieces in the kit, there are a couple of points to keep in mind:
- If you’re looking to create or enchant your armor, be sure to check out our detailed guide to power-leveling blacksmithing and enchanting skills to hit that level cap and create the best gear in the game as quickly as possible.
- While still a major factor in affecting movement speed, weight is generally less crucial for armor than it is for weaponry, particularly with the weight removal perks for the light and heavy armor skill trees unlocked. Generally, our ratings are based on the fenders provided, with weight as a secondary factor.
- We have sorted the following by full set statistics, rather than individual statistics, and items that do not belong to a specific set are included in a separate list. Occasionally one item in a set may rank higher than another on defense, but we are only considering the items in a set as part of that overall group.
- Unique sets are marked with an asterisk *, so we will indicate where to find them. All other sets can be acquired through standard crafting measures or random loot in the wild.
- When the “Enhanced With” column contains “N / A” for the required buff, this means that you must increase your smithing skill above 100 with fortify smithy potions to upgrade the item beyond flawless quality. However, if no upgrade material is observed (for example, for the Mask of Clavicus Vile), the item cannot be upgraded at all, regardless of the blacksmith skill upgrades and perks.
The best heavy armor sets in Skyrim ranked
Heavy Armor is your go-to for dueling berserkers, two-handed tanks, and even battle mages who prefer to avoid the Alteration school’s Stoneflesh and Ironflesh spells.
Below, we rank the best heavy armor sets in Skyrim, taking into account not only total defenses, but also the weight of the sets and their various enchantments and effects.
- The defense and weight values listed below are without the shield, as with Heavy Armor you will rarely use a shield as well.
- Ebony Armor is listed below with the only alternate cuirass, Ebony Mail. Ebony Mail is obtained from the Daedric quest Call of Boethiah, by looting the body of the Champion of Boethiah. Note that only this part of the standard ebony armor set carries the enchantments listed below.
|Armor set||Total defense||Weight||Update with||Effect||Lovely|
|Daedric armor||108||96||Ebony Ingot, Daedric Smithing||None||Yes|
|Stalhrim armor||102||59||Stalhrim, ebony smithy||25% more Resist Frost enchantments||Yes|
|Dragon Plate Armor||102||64||Dragon bone, Dragon armor||None||Yes|
|Ebony Armor *||96||62||Ebony Ingot, Ebony Smithing||5 poison damage per second to nearby enemies, Muffle – Ebony Mail only part||Yes, excluding Ebony Mail|
|Falmer’s heavy armor||96||55||Chaurus Chitin, Advanced Armors||None||Yes|
The best light armor sets in Skyrim ranked
As we’ve mentioned, Light Armor works best for sword and shield players, archers, and stealth players. That said, the addition of Deathbrand Armor in the Dragonborn DLC has introduced the ‘Deathbrand’ playstyle for Light Armor users, meaning that dueling is finally a very valid option without requiring Heavy Armor to protect themselves.
- Deathbrand Armor is arguably the best armor in the game, certainly if you don’t have max-level blacksmithing and enchanting skills. It can be found one piece at a time as part of the Dragonborn “Deathbrand” quest.
- Guild Masters Armor is awarded when you become the head of the Thieves Guild, during the mission “Under New Management”.
- The Nightingale armor is acquired during the Thieves Guild mission “Trinity Restored”.
|Armor set||Total defense||Weight||Update with||Effect||Lovely|
|Deathbrand Armor *||78.5||13||Stalhrim, ebony smithy||+100 armor when wearing the full set; +15 Stamina (Breastplate) and +10 Carrying Capacity (Boots) for each Deathbrand item used; Waterbreathing (helmet); + 10% damage from one-handed attacks for each Deathbrand item used when dueling (gauntlets)||Not|
|Ancient Wrapped Armor||72||7.5||Leather, N / A||+25 armor when wearing the full set; Immune to poison (armor); Muffle (boots); + 35% bow damage (hood); 2x One Handed Weapon Sneak Attack Damage (Gloves)||Not|
|Dragon Scale Armor||82 (111 with shield)||20 (26 with shield)||Dragon Sclaes, Dragon Armor||None||Yes|
|Guildmaster’s Armor *||76||17||Leather, N / A||+50 Carrying capacity (armor); + 35% pickpocket success (boots); + 35% lock picks (gloves); 20% better prices (hood)||Not|
|Nightingale Armor *||69||18||Empty salts, N / A||+25 armor when wearing the full set; +20 Stamina, + 15% Frost Resistance (Breastplate); Muffle (boots); 15% to pick locks, + 15% damage with one hand (gloves); -12% to the cost of the illusion spell (hood)||Not|
The best shields in Skyrim
Shields are a completely optional option and only suit one-handed fighters, especially those with light armor sets or high difficulty games. A couple of points to keep in mind:
- Spellbreaker is acquired by completing the Daedric quest “The Only Cure.”
- Auriel’s shield is acquired by killing the warmonger Falmer within the Forgotten Valley Forest location within the Forgotten Valley, on the Dawnguard quest line.
- The shield of loneliness is acquired by completing the mission “The Awakening of the Wolf Queen.”
- The Shield of Ysgramor is acquired from the final chest in the Tomb of Ysgramor, as part of the Companions’ quest “Glory of the Dead.”
- The Dawnguard Rune Shield is acquired from the Dawnguard Radiant quest “Lost Relic”.
- The Ethereal Shield is acquired by creating it in the Ethereal Forge as part of the quest “Lost in the Ages.”
|To protect||Armor type||Defending||Weight||Effect|
|Spellbreaker *||38||12||Dwarf Metal Ingot, N / A||Guards, which protect you from 50 magic damage while blocking.|
|Auriel’s Shield *||32||14||Refined Moonstone, Elven Smithy||Stores energy from blocked attacks, releases energy when power hits|
|Shield of Solitude *||32||12||N / A||+ 30% magic resistance, + 35% damage blocked|
|Ysgramor Shield *||30||12||N / A||+ 20% Magic Resistance, +20 Health|
|Dawnguard Rune Shield *||27||6||Steel Ingot, Advanced Armor||+10 Bash damage against vampires, blocking for a period of time creates a sun shield, dealing 10 damage to nearby enemies|
|Ethereal Shield *||26||12||Dwarf Metal Ingot, N / A||Hitting enemies causes them to become ethereal for 15 seconds and thus unable to attack or be attacked.|
Want more help with Skyrim? Find out how to join all guilds and factions, how to earn gold quickly, learn about XP and level up to 100, maximum crafting skills, maximum warrior skills, maximum thief skills and maximum mage skills, how to get married, where to buy a house, how to start the Dawnguard, Hearthfire and Dragonborn DLC expansions. If you’re on PC, we’ve got a list of console commands and cheats, and you can learn about the remastered version and how to install mods from our Skyrim guide. Finally, with Switch owners, we’ve explained Skyrim’s amiibo support to help unlock special Zelda-themed items.
The best individual armor pieces in Skyrim
Interestingly, because we’ve included the Ebony Mail in our Ebony Armor Set, all of the best individual and unique armor pieces are hats of one kind or another, which function in the same way as helmets. A couple of points to keep in mind:
- All of the Dragon Piest skins below (everything except the Clavicus Vile mask and Yngol’s Helm) are available by looting Dragon Priests of the same name as the mask in question.
- The Clavicus Vile mask is acquired through the Daedric Quest “A Daedra’s Best Friend”, but only if you refrain from killing Barbas.
- Yngol’s Helm is acquired from Yngol’s skeleton in Yngol Barrow after defeating Yngol’s Shadow. It is significant due to the Frost Resistance spell, which is one of the only spells available in the game for the head.
|Name||Piece||Armor type||Defending||Weight||Update with||Effect|
|Konahrik *||Mask||Heavy||24||7||Gold Bar, Daedric Smithy||Randomly summons a Dragon Priest; Chance to take down enemies, heal yourself and nearby allies, and grant a cloak of fire when low on health|
|Hevnoraak *||Mask||Heavy||2. 3||9||Iron Ingot, Daedric Smithy||Immune to diseases and poisons|
|Otar *||Mask||Heavy||2. 3||9||Refined Malachite, Daedric Smithing||30% resistance to fire, frost and shock|
|Clavicus Vile Mask *||Mask||Heavy||2. 3||7||N / A||20% Better Prices, +10 Speech, + 5% Magic Regeneration|
|Nakriin *||Mask||Heavy||2. 3||9||Ebony ingont, Daedric smithy||+50 Magic, Destruction and Restoration Spells cost 20% less|
|Rahgot *||Mask||Heavy||2. 3||9||Orichalcum Ingont, Daedric Smithy||Strengthen stamina 70 points|
|Vokun *||Mask||Heavy||2. 3||9||Steel Ingot, Daedric Smithy||Conjuration, Illusion, and Alteration spells cost 20% less|
|Yngol’s Helm *||Helmet||Heavy||twenty-one||8||Steel Ingot, Advanced Blacksmithing||30% frost resistance|
|Krosis *||Mask||Light||twenty-one||5||Iron Ingot, Daedric Smithy||Locks, alchemy and archery 20% better|
|Volsung *||Mask||Light||twenty-one||5||Corundum Ingot, Daedric Smithing||Prices 20% better +20 Load capacity, water breathing|