Skyrim: 15 Most Powerful Weapons, Ranked (2023)

With the two expansion packs and the base game, Skyrim players have access to a staggering number of powerful and useful weapons. Granted, with the enchanting skill any weapon can become deadly and players will find that their own customized weapon beats a legendary sword or mythical bow any day.

RELATED: Skyrim: Best Warrior Perks

But for those who want to find the most powerful weapon in Skyrim without putting in any work there are a number of bows, blades, and axes that the player can use to become an unstoppable Dragonborn.

Updated August 30, 2022 by Erik Petrovich: The best weapons in Skyrim vary from bows to daggers to greatswords. Ultimately, the strongest weapon in Skyrim will vary from person to person and from playstyle to playstyle. No matter your preferred way to take on the game, though, these 15 are on most Skyrim players' list of the best Skyrim weapons. Be sure to take into account the base damage when deciding which of Skyrim's best weapons listed here to take on - the base damage is typically much lower than it would be for players who have spent points in associated perks. Unlike the more common weapons in the game, the best weapons in Skyrim can be hard to find, and some are even locked behind lengthy questlines - like the College of Winterhold – so make it easier on yourself by learning exactly where to go.

15 Staff Of Magnus

Skyrim: 15 Most Powerful Weapons, Ranked (1)

Weapon Type


Unmodified Effects

Other Details



Absorbs 20 Magicka from the target.

If the target has no Magicka, Health is absorbed instead.

The Staff Of Magnus can be acquired during the course of the College of Winterhold questline, which begins atop the northeastern cliffs of Skyrim in Winterhold proper. Though it has a number of potent abilities and specialties in combat, it does not possess the usual characteristics of more traditional weapons in the game.

To get the most out of this weapon, players must be prepared to quickly drain an opponent’s Magicka. Otherwise, they need to be patient while the Staff of Magnus does that job. Once drained of Magicka, the Staff of Magnus will drain the target of health instead. Against traditional enemies it’s not the greatest, but against Magicka users this thing is devastating.

14 Ebony Blade

Skyrim: 15 Most Powerful Weapons, Ranked (2)

Weapon Type

Unmodified Damage


Other Details

Two-Handed Katana


Absorbs 10 Health on hit.

Killing friendly NPCs with the Ebony Blade increases the amount absorbed, to a maximum of 30.

Obtained during the Daedric quest The Whispering Door, the Ebony Blade is a solid weapon after the player has reached level 20. It comes with the following damage base and special effect.

The ability to deal solid damage to an enemy and heal the player by 30 points with each strike is an incredible edge in combat. The reason it isn’t the most powerful weapon is that there are others that outpace it in terms of damage. The Ebony Blade makes endgame battles achievable thanks to the healing, but these fights can take forever to complete.

13 Dragonbane

Skyrim: 15 Most Powerful Weapons, Ranked (3)

Weapon Type

Unmodified Damage


Other Details

One-Handed Katana


Deals 20 extra damage to Dragons

Deals 10 extra Shock damage to non-Dragons

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The Dragonbane katana is obtained during the Alduin’s Wall quest. It’s the perfect weapon for the Dragonborn as it gives special benefits against dragons and decent base damage. When fighting Dragons, one could argue that this is the most powerful weapon in Skyrim. For facing anything else, it is one of the better weapons, but certainly not the best out there. Still, it’s highly advised that players looking to beat Dragons as a warrior or complete the main quest should wield this blade.

12 Windshear

Skyrim: 15 Most Powerful Weapons, Ranked (4)

Weapon Type

Unmodified Damage


Other Details

One-Handed Scimitar


Attacks stagger more reliably than other One-Handed swords

Bash Attacks can knock targets prone

Players can acquire the Windshear scimitar during the Dark Brotherhood quest Hail Sithis. It comes with some clever perks that make it a fun and effective weapon to wield.RELATED: Which Skyrim Class Should You Choose Based On Your Zodiac?

That brief paralysis translates to an enemy incapacitated for several seconds, as they fall down and then get back up. The stagger with every attack is also brutal, as fast players can effectively stunlock all but the heartiest of foes. It’ll just take a while to whittle down their health if using the Windshear on its own.

11 Chillrend

Skyrim: 15 Most Powerful Weapons, Ranked (5)

Weapon Type

Unmodified Damage


Other Details

One-Handed Sword


Deals 30 bonus Frost Damage on hit

Small chance to Paralyze targets on hit

Players can get their hands on Chillrend by prying it from the cold dead grasp of Mercer Frey, the former Thieves' Guild leader. It has decent DPS potential and a very strong effect enchanted upon it. The DPS achieved with the base damage and the Frost makes this weapon worth considering on its own.

But the paralyze for two seconds makes this a very capable weapon in the right hands. Under the right circumstances, the enemy will be helpless as the player attacks. This is a great weapon for beginners that carries long into the latter parts of the game, unless the opponent can resist Frost damage.

10 Bloodskal Blade

Skyrim: 15 Most Powerful Weapons, Ranked (6)

Weapon Type

Unmodified Damage


Other Details

Two-Handed Greatsword


Strong Attacks launch beams of energy forward

Each beam deals 30 regular damage

Stats wise, the two-handed Bloodskal Blade is the same as a glass greatsword, giving it a base damage of 21 and a weight of 16. While not exactly impressive on its own, what really makes this weapon shine is its special ability.

With this weapon, the player can cast a wave of either vertical or horizontal energy that deals 30 damage. This wave can reach up to 15 feet, hit multiple enemies and even go through walls. It’s great for surprising foes or softening up a group of enemies before wading into melee battle.

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9 Dawnbreaker

Skyrim: 15 Most Powerful Weapons, Ranked (7)

Weapon Type

Unmodified Damage


Other Details

One-Handed Sword


Deals 10 bonus Fire damage to targets on hit

Striking Undead creates an explosion in the nearby area

This Daedric weapon is a quest reward for serving the Daedric Prince Meridia. This weapon does a basic 12 points of damage, but it deals 10 points of burn damage which makes it a decent weapon against any foe. Given the Daedric Prince’s hatred of undead, this weapon is especially effective against such foes.

Upon killing a shambling corpse, the weapon has a chance to trigger a fiery explosion that will either turn or utterly eliminate any nearby undead. It’s very helpful for dealing with necromancers, vampires, or any undead in general. Just don’t be a creature of the night when wielding this in battle — the Prince will not be mocked, and the explosion will harm the player too.

8 Blade Of Woe

Skyrim: 15 Most Powerful Weapons, Ranked (8)

The Blade of Woe is a small dagger wielded by the traitorous leader of the Dark Brotherhood, Astrid. Players can obtain it after learning of the attack on the guild and performing a Black Sacrament on Astrid as her dying wish.

his weapon is ideal for an assassin, as it deals a base damage of 12 and has the ability to absorb 10 points of health with each strike. Players are strongly advised to have a high Destruction skill and use Sneak to get the full effect of the blade.

7 Harkon’s Sword

Skyrim: 15 Most Powerful Weapons, Ranked (9)

Weapon Type

Unmodified Damage


Other Details

One-Handed Katana


Absorbs 15 Health, Magicka, and Stamina each

Runs out of charges very quickly

Wielded by the legendary vampire Lord Harkon, this blade does a paltry 8 points of base damage, but possesses a number of vampiric abilities that make it worthy of a lord of the undead. The one-handed sword has the ability to absorb 15 points of health, magicka, and stamina with each strike. RELATED: The Elder Scrolls: Things You Might Not Know About Blackreach

This stunning ability does have the downside of being greedy on charges, so the player will need a lot of filled soul gems. It also only works for a vampire, but given how powerful this sword is, becoming a member of the undead is absolutely worth it.

6 Drainblood Battleaxe

Skyrim: 15 Most Powerful Weapons, Ranked (10)
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Weapon Type

Unmodified Damage


Other Details

Two-Handed Battleaxe


Absorbs 15 Health

Drops from Spectral Draugr

A unique weapon wielded by the spectral form of a Draugr the Drainblood Battleaxe is one of four ghost weapons that’s very powerful for anyone skilled in axe fighting. The stats are great with a base damage of 21 and a weight of a shockingly low five pounds.

his two-handed battleaxe also absorbs 15 points of health with each hit. What’s even better is that unlike Harkon’s Sword, this ability doesn’t require a charge, meaning the player can use it an infinite number of times and never need a soul gem. Players won't find a better axe in the game.

5 Bloodscythe & Soulrender

Skyrim: 15 Most Powerful Weapons, Ranked (11)

Weapon Type

Unmodified Damage


Other Details

One-Handed Scimitars

13 each

Absorbs 15 Magicka and Health, lowers armor, and lowers Magic defense on hit

Effects only work when dual-wielding both weapons

This pair of scimitars was wielded by Haknir Death-Brand, the pirate king. Both blades deal a base damage of 13, but shine when they are wielded together while wearing Deathbrand armor. Bloodscythe will absorb 15 points of health with a chance to lower the enemy’s armor, and Soulrender will absorb 15 points of magicka with a chance to lower magical defenses.

If the blades are wielded by a player wearing Deathbrand armor, they’ll both receive a 40% boost to damage and a boost to the player’s armor rating. This combination of gear makes the player a force to be reckoned with.

4 Zephyr

Skyrim: 15 Most Powerful Weapons, Ranked (12)

Weapon Type

Unmodified Damage


Other Details



Can fire about 30% faster than other bows

Doesn't need to be charged

Zephyr is a dwarven bow that belonged to an unfortunate adventurer killed in an earthquake. The bow deals a base damage of 12, which is admittedly low compared to other weapons, but its special ability more than makes up for it.

This bow can fire arrows 30% faster than a standard bow. With this fire rate increase, it becomes the highest DPS bow in the game as the player can pump arrow after arrow into the enemy. The reason it doesn’t rank higher is that the player will burn through arrows, and its low damage output per attack makes it a weak bow for sneaky archers who will want to do a lot of damage in the first hit.

3 Dwarven Black Bow Of Fate

Skyrim: 15 Most Powerful Weapons, Ranked (13)

Weapon Type

Unmodified Damage


Other Details



Has a 50% chance to Absorb 25 Magicka, Stamina, or Health on hit

Any combination of resources can be absorbed with each hit, but rarely all three

The Dragonborn can obtain this powerful bow after solving the puzzle inside the Dwemer ruin of Kagrumez. It has a base damage of 13 similar to an Elven Bow, but its special ability is really what makes it worthwhile. RELATED: Skyrim: Where To Find The Marked For Death Shout (And What It Does)

With each strike, it has a 50% of triggering the absorption of health, magicka, and/or stamina. While it’s not a guaranteed absorption like with Harkon’s Sword, it’s almost double the points, and players will be fighting from a distance rather than taking damage in melee so they’ll hardly notice the tradeoff.

2 Nightingale Bow

Skyrim: 15 Most Powerful Weapons, Ranked (14)

Weapon Type

Unmodified Damage


Other Details



Deals 30 bonus Frost damage on hit

Also deals 15 bonus Shock damage

This bow is wielded by Karliah a member of the Nightingales, who gives it to the player during a Thieves Guild quest. This leveled bow is great for lower level players. It’ll rise in power as they level up, before capping with a base damage of 19 once the player is level 45.

Its special effect also improves, and at level 45 gives the player the ability to freeze targets for 30 points and shock them for 15. With decent base damage and the elemental boost added on, players can deal a whopping 64 points of base damage, assuming there are no resistances.

1 Auriel’s Bow

Skyrim: 15 Most Powerful Weapons, Ranked (15)

Weapon Type

Unmodified Damage


Other Details



Deals 20 bonus Sun damage on hit

Undead take 3x damage from Auriel's Bow

The ability to damage foes from a distance where they can’t retaliate makes bows naturally the strongest weapons in the game. Thus, it’s no surprise that Auriel’s Bow is the most powerful weapon a player can find in Skyrim.

Once wielded by the Elven god Auri-El himself, this bow deals 13 base damage with 20 points of sun damage stacked on top for 33 points of damage and has a faster rate of fire than the average bow. This weapon is even more powerful against the undead, as sun damage triples, meaning a single shot can deal 73 points of base damage.

The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim is available for PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

MORE: Skyrim: How To Cure Vampirism


What is the most powerful weapon in Skyrim? ›

One of the most powerful melee weapons in Skyrim is a battleaxe. The Wuuthrad battleaxe is a massive, two-handed battleaxe that will awe any enemy. It boasts a base damage of 25, but with an extra bonus against specific enemies. It does 1.2 times the damage against all elves, especially the Falmer, and orcs.

Which weapon type has the highest DPS Skyrim? ›

The Longhammer is a two-handed Orcish warhammer that has a perl on it. It swings as fast as a one-handed sword and benefits from Smithing perks. The Longhammer is the most powerful weapon in the game even with Dawnguard installed; in DPS it far surpasses any weapon for damage, even dual-wielded daggers.

How do I make insanely powerful weapons in Skyrim? ›

In order to make a weapon that does a million damage, players will need to make three kinds of potions for the exploit. They will need approximately 30 Potions of Fortify Restoration, 6 or 7 Potions of Fortify Enchanting, and an equal number of Potions of Fortify Alchemy.

What is the longest weapon in Skyrim? ›

15 Headsman's Axe

Still, it makes this list for its massive range, as the Headsman's Axe is literally the longest weapon in the entire game.

What is the strongest axe in Skyrim? ›

The best War Axes in Skyrim

The Dawnguard Rune Axe is rated first because the 110 damage to undead can in fact be locked in by tempering the axe at a grindstone. It can also be improved with only the Steel Smithing Perk unlocked, making it an exceptional early-game choice.

What is the most op item in Skyrim? ›


Its parts are difficult to find or make: you'll need Ebony armor, Daedra hearts, black soul gems, and centurion dynamo cores. With all that work comes high reward; the Daedric armor has the highest armor rating in the game at 144 points.

What is the coolest looking weapon in Skyrim? ›

Skyrim: 5 Of The Coolest Looking Swords (& 5 That Look Terrible)
  • 3 Terrible: Forsworn Sword.
  • 4 Cool: Daedric Sword. ...
  • 5 Terrible: Falmer Sword. ...
  • 6 Cool: Chillrend. ...
  • 7 Terrible: Ancient Nord Sword. ...
  • 8 Cool: Nightingale Blade. ...
  • 9 Terrible: Imperial Sword. ...
  • 10 Cool: Bolar's Oathblade. ...
Jan 10, 2020

What weapon does the least damage in Skyrim? ›

The fork is the weakest weapon in the game with a base damage of 1.

How do you become overpowered in Skyrim? ›

11 Ways to Make an Overpowered Warrior In Skyrim
  1. 11 Kill Everything.
  2. 10 Block Powerful Attacks.
  3. 9 Focus On Light Armor.
  4. 8 Don't Bother With Smithing.
  5. 7 Get The Best Equipment.
  6. 6 Stock Up On Potions.
  7. 5 Fight Powerful Friendly NPCs.
  8. 4 Use Shouts.
Jan 20, 2023

What is the strongest armor you can make in Skyrim? ›

Deathbrand Armor is arguably the best armor in the game - certainly if you don't have max-level Smithing and Enchanting skills. It can be found one piece at a time as part of the "Deathbrand" Dragonborn quest.

What is the strongest monster in Skyrim? ›

Karstaag is the undisputed toughest enemy in all of Skyrim. This optional frost troll boss has his level locked at 90, with absolutely no scaling. His health is 4000, and his regeneration rate is better than that of a normal troll.

What bow has the highest damage in Skyrim? ›

1 Bow of Shadows

The Bow of Shadows is arguably Skyrim's most broken bow, and certainly the most powerful bow added to the game with the Creation Club. While its 19 base damage pales compared to some of the other options, this is the best bow in Skyrim because of its special effect.

What is the biggest hold in Skyrim? ›

Kolskeggr Mine

If you were looking for the motherload of gold in Skyrim, look no further; this mine is absolutely packed with gold ore veins.

What is the fastest weapon in Skyrim? ›

The fastest physical weapon is a dagger with a swing speed of 0.7 seconds. Daggers are followed by Swords with a swing speed of one second, and all other weapons with swings that take longer than one second to complete.

Is Diamond axe stronger than sword? ›

The axes do more damage than the swords. In this case, playing with a diamond axe will do nine damage, whereas a diamond sword will do 7. Axes visibly deal with more damage than swords. Also, if you add enchantments with the axes, it becomes more powerful and causes extra damage.

Who is the best to sell to in Skyrim? ›

Skyrim: 19 Best Merchants, Ranked
  1. 1 All Thieves Guild Fences And Merchants.
  2. 2 Adrienne & Ulfberth Of The Warmaiden's - Whiterun. ...
  3. 3 Eorlund Gray-Mane, The Blacksmith - Winterhold. ...
  4. 4 Oengul War-Anvil, The Blacksmith - Windhelm. ...
  5. 5 Beirand, The Blacksmith - Solitude. ...
  6. 6 Neloth, A Mage Merchange - Tel Mithryn. ...
Nov 17, 2021

What are the 9 holds in Skyrim? ›

  • Eastmarch.
  • Falkreath Hold.
  • Haafingar.
  • Hjaalmarch.
  • The Pale.
  • The Reach.
  • The Rift.
  • Whiterun Hold.
Nov 10, 2011

What is the strongest two handed sword in Skyrim? ›

Without DLCs, the best 2H weapon is a Legendary Daedric Warhammer. You will want to get your smithing up to improve it to legendary quality. Since you want to use the Deathbrand Armor, I see you have the Dragonborn DLC, therefore you want to use dragonbone weapons to maximize your damage.

How do you become legendary in Skyrim? ›

Making a skill Legendary in Skyrim is a simple process, but it can't be done unless the player has maxed out progression in that skill entirely. Upon reaching Lvl 100 in a skill, the option to make it Legendary appears in the Skills screen.

Can you max out every skill in Skyrim? ›

All characters level up their skills at the same speed with use, and as such you're able to, eventually, reach the maximum level of 100 in every skill tree.

Can you become a god in Skyrim? ›

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. 4- get yourself a full suit that can wear fortify smithing drink a fortify enchant potion and pound away with the smithing enchant to get a+29% bonus to smithing upgrade with this DRINK the 147% fortify smithing potion and upgrade to god like level anything you want.

How to become immortal in Skyrim? ›

The most reliable way to become immortal without losing your flesh or contracting some disease is to get involved with a Daedra. This was the fate of the First Dragonborn, Mirak, who served the Daedra Hermanus Mora for millennia.

What is the strongest Skyrim NPC? ›

1 The Ebony Warrior

The Ebony Warrior is the ultimate human enemy in Skyrim because he will only appear once the player has reached level 80. This is the level that will be reached if the player maxes out every one of their skills.

What is the best helmet in Skyrim? ›

1 Konahrik

With equivalent base armor to the Visage of Mzund and a much harder acquisition quest, the Dragon Priest mask Konahrik is possibly the best helmet in all of Skyrim.

What is the most powerful light armor in Skyrim? ›

The best light armor set in Skyrim is undoubtedly the Dragonscale armor. If the Daedric kind had light armor, it would probably be something better than this one, but unfortunately, light armor wearers will have to make do. This armor can rarely be found in loot, which is why crafting it is usually the better option.

What is the hardest battle in Skyrim? ›

1 Skuldafn (Past Level 45)

Considering scaling, however, the Skuldafn dungeon is arguably the toughest encounter in all of Skyrim. This is due to Skuldafn being the only dungeon in Skyrim that replaces all draugr with a level-scaled variant.

What is the toughest dragon in Skyrim? ›

8 Ancient Dragon

These are the hardest dragons encountered in the base game of Skyrim, seen especially after reaching level 50. They look very similar to Elder Dragons, but will have much more sustain and damage at their disposal, making them the most daunting enemy to meet in the wild.

Can you become Jarl Skyrim? ›

Though the Dragonborn is able to become a member of secret societies like the Thieves Guild or curry favor with a city's authorities to become one of its Thanes, there is no way for players to officially ascend to the powerful Jarl position in Skyrim.

What are the best stealth weapons in Skyrim? ›

Skyrim: 7 Best Items For Stealth Builds
  1. 1 The Ebony Mail.
  2. 2 Nightweaver's Band. ...
  3. 3 Predator's Grace. ...
  4. 4 Nightingale, Shrouded, or Jester's Gloves. ...
  5. 5 Nightingale, Shrouded, or Jester's Boots. ...
  6. 6 The Gray Cowl. ...
  7. 7 Bow of Shadows. ...
Feb 23, 2022

What are the best weapons to dual wield in Skyrim? ›

In terms of speed-to-damage ratio, hatchets are objectively the best weapon to use while dual-wielding without the aid of spells or Dragon Shouts. Additionally, given the weapon's popularity among Skyrim's Forsworn enemies, players can use two hatchets to help roleplay a Dragonborn looking to rebel against the Reach.

What type of weapon is best in Skyrim? ›

In melee, the best weapon types are maces and daggers. Daggers get ridiculous sneak attack bonuses (up to 30x), so if you're doing stealth, dual daggers are pretty much required.

What is the strongest weapon? ›

The Tsar Bomba (Russian: Царь-бо́мба) (code name: Ivan or Vanya), also known by the alphanumerical designation "AN602", was a thermonuclear aerial bomb, and the most powerful nuclear weapon ever created and tested.

Which weapon can destroy the world? ›

Nuclear weapons are the most dangerous weapons on earth. One can destroy a whole city, potentially killing millions, and jeopardizing the natural environment and lives of future generations through its long-term catastrophic effects.

What is the deadliest weapon of all time? ›

Nuclear weapon

The atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, killed 70,000 people initially, with tens of thousands more succumbing to radiation sickness over subsequent months and years.


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