10 Best Bows in Skyrim 【Learn to find them】

10 Best Bows in Skyrim 【Learn to find them】

When you think about The Elders Scrolls: Skyrim, one of the first things that often comes to mind is the classic stealth archery playstyle. Not only is it effective and extremely fun but watching your enemies ragdoll to their death from 50 yards out with ranged slow-motion is an experience that only Skyrim can provide.

Continue reading to find out the top ten bows in Skyrim and where you can find them. We’ll be focusing on finding the best bow in Skyrim and answering commonly asked questions such as what is the best bow in-game and where to get the best bow?

Skyrim Best Bow 2021:

  • Selection Criteria
    When selecting the best bows in Skyrim, it’s important to consider a number of factors besides raw damage. One such crucial factor when deciding a ranged weapon is its effective range. Typically ranged weapons in Skyrim tend to have a range of about 60 meters, although it is possible to strike enemies from much farther away. Our list for Skyrim best bow will not consider factors such as player level, perks, active skills, or the type of arrow used. Our selection criteria depend upon factors such as:
  • Base Damage: This is the damage of the bow without considering any bonus damage effects from perks and skill. The higher the base damage the better.
  • Weight: Managing your inventory and avoiding encumbrance is important in Skyrim, this is why the weight of bow matters.
  • Rate of fire: Besides raw damage, it’s equally important that your bow can fire multiple arrows at a faster rate. This factor becomes crucial in the later stages of the game when enemies can no longer be sniped by a single hit.
  • Ease to Obtain: Although it doesn’t matter that much knowing whether a bow is hard to find can also be helpful for many adventurers.
    Continue reading to discover the best bows ranked.

10. The Dwarven Black Bow of Fate

Dwarven Black Bow of Fate

• Base Damage: 13
• Weight: 10
• Rate of Fire: 0.75
• Ease to Obtain: Difficult

The dwarven black bow of fate is a fairly unique dwarven bow, which similar to traditional bows within the game, offers decent damage output and rate of fire. However, what makes the bow standout is its enchantment bonus which gives the wielder a 50% chance to either drain 25 points of health, stamina, or magicka from the enemy target.

Although the enchantment is completely RNG based, it still provides a decent kick to a bow that lacks damage. The bow can be crafted with ebony and further provides the Dwarven smithing perk which makes the bow really useful in terms of long fights.

The Dwarven Black Bow of Fate can only be found in Solstheim, therefore the Dragonborn DLC must be installed. The Bow is a quest reward for the Kagrumez Gauntlet quest which tasks the player to solve three puzzles within the Dwemer ruins of Kagrumez. Although not the best bow in Skyrim but it gets the job done.

9. Glass Bow

Glass Bow

Base Damage: 15
• Weight: 14
• Rate of Fire: 0.625
• Ease to Obtain: Easy

The Glass Bow is a pretty standard non-unique bow within Skyrim that offers a similar damage output to the Dwarven Black bow of fate but with a much better rate of fire and improved base damage.

It’s a bow that must be included in in the top 10 bows list. Despite being a lower-levelled weapon, the glass bow is easily accessible in the early game and can provide a much-needed damage boost to new adventurers. The Glass Blow has the potential to be Skyrim best bow for early-game adventurers.

The Glass Bow can be found throughout the game world once the player reaches level 27. You can either purchase the bow from merchants or buy the necessary crafting materials from blacksmiths. To craft the bow, players will require the glass smithing perk, level 70 in smithing, a refined moonstone, and two refined malachite.

If you’re not up for crafting, you can always loot the nearest dungeon or crypt for common glass bows. A commonly asked question is where to find a good bow during the early missions and the answer to that question is to simply obtain a glass Bow and you’re on your way to slaying some dragons.

8. Gauldur Blackbow

Gauldur Blackbow

• Base Damage: 14
• Weight: 18
• Rate of Fire: 0.875
• Ease to Obtain: Medium

This ancient Nordic bow is a great offhand complement weapon during the mid-game when the player enters level 36. The best version of the Gauldur Blackbow is unlocked at level 36, with a decent base damage and probably one of the best enchantments within the game.

The Drain magicka enchantment provided by this bow drains 30 points of magicka from targets, making it the perfect counter for enemies such as mages and other opponents that rely on casting spells during combat.

Such opponents can be weakened by draining their magicka pool and rendering them completely helpless in battle. Another advantage of the Gauldur Blackbow is its high rate of fire which makes it a great DPS weapon.

The Bow can be obtained by completing the sidequest Forbidden Legend. With heavy upgrades and further enchantments, the Gauldur Blackbow is surely one of the best bow in Skyrim during the mid-game.

7. Zephyr

Zephyr

• Base Damage: 12
• Weight: 10
• Rate of Fire: 1.0
• Ease to Obtain: Medium

Although the Zephyr bow has a really lack luster damage output, the reason why it’s ranked at number 7 is due to its high rate of fire. As a matter of fact, the Zephyr bow boasts the highest rate of fire for any ranged weapon within Skyrim.

Paired with the fact that the bow comes with an enchantment that boosts the speed of notched arrows by up to 30%, you have the finest DPS weapon at your disposal. It is easily the best bow in Skyrim for the early game.

Furthermore, with the blacksmiths perk, players can improve the stats of the bow by regularly upgrading it with metal ingots. Although, Zephyr has an impressive rate of fire, its meagre damage output seriously nerfs the bow.

Killing enemies with this bow means that players will require a great stash of arrows which can be pretty expensive when starting off a new game. Best arrows to accompany the Zephyr bow include glass arrows, ebony arrows, and Daedric arrows.

The Zephyr Bow can be attained by completing the Lost to the Ages quest, which tasks players to explore the Dwemer ruins of Arkngthamz within the Dawnguard DLC.

6. Glass Bow of the Stag Prince

Glass Bow of the Stag Prince

• Base Damage: 16
• Weight: 14
• Rate of Fire: 0.625
• Ease to Obtain: Easy

Instead of buying a wild bear pelt, why not go on a lookout for one to decorate your home? This is basically what the Glass Bow of the Stag Prince offers to players.

Besides having a cool-sounding name and sinister connection to the Daedric Prince of the Hunt – Hircine, this bow offers one of the most unique enchantments within the entirety of Skyrim, which partially makes up for its poor rate of fire.

The Blessing of the Stag Prince enchantment ensures that for every 20 animals hunted by this bow, the player character receives a special bonus from the Daedric prince himself. Each bonus provides increased health and stamina stats and can be stacked to 80 kills. Similar to the Dwarven Bow of Black Fate, this bow is also only available in Solstheim via the Dragonborn DLC.

The Bow can be obtained by purchasing it from the merchant at the Ramshackle Trading Post. Many people consider this bow to be the best bow in Skyrim.

5. Stalhrim Bow

Stalhrim Bow

• Base Damage: 17
• Weight: 15
• Speed: 0.5625
• Ease to Obtain: Easy

At fifth place, we have the Stalhrim bow, a Dragonborn DLC exclusive weapon which can be obtained by either crafting it or by purchasing it from vendors.

Probably the best bow for stealth archers, the Stalhrim bow is impossible to craft at low levels (requires 80 smithing level), it can be purchased quite early on from various shops and merchants. For the price it offers, this is the best ranged weapon for dealing massive damage at the cost of very low rate of fire.

The Stalhrim bow also comes with a unique frost enchantment which empowers all frost damage output by 25%. Despite the fact that the bow has a slow rate of fire and high encumbrance, it’s impressive base damage paired with the frost enchantment makes it a perfectly viable choice for an early game DPS ranged weapon.

The Weapon can be looted from random drop points or chests or purchased from the merchant in Skaal Village.

4. Ebony Bow

Ebony Bow

• Base Damage: 17
• Weight: 16
• Rate of Fire: 0.562
• Ease to Obtain: Easy

The Ebony Bow is one of the better non-unique bows in Skyrim, offering a much higher base damage than regular standard bows.

The Ebony bow is a perfect alternative to the Glass Bow as it is also very easy to acquire and comes with a decent rate of fire. Its base damage of 17 makes it the strongest bow in Skyrim. Once the player reaches level 36, the Ebony Bow will become available as random loot.

Players can also craft the bow if they have the smithing skill above level 80 with all of the required components to craft the bow (3 ebony ingots). Once crafted, the players can upgrade the bow several times using ebony ingots at grindstones provided that they have unlocked the ebony smithing perk.

The Ebony bow can also be obtained at level 18 by visiting the Lost Valkygg where a Draugr Deathlord drops the item once slain.

3. Nightingale Bow

Nightingale Bow

• Base Damage: 19
• Weight: 18
• Rate of Fire: 0.5
• Ease to Obtain: Difficult

The Nightingale bow is probably the best bow in Skyrim. Players can only obtain this bow by completing the thieves guild questline.

The bow cannot be crafted and doesn’t contain any smithing perks. However, the Nightingale bow stands out from other unique bows due its level dependency. Depending upon the level of the player when they complete the thieves guild questline, players can receive five different variants.

To receive the best version of the nightingale bow, its best to play the thieves guild questline once the dragonborn has reached level 46 or higher. At this level, the nightingale bow boasts a whopping 19 base damage alongside 30 frost and 15 shock damage.

The Nightingale bow is one of the highest damage bow Skyrim has to offer. If your also consider where to find a good bow that will last you the entirety of your playtime than look no further, the Nightingale Bow is the best option.

2. Daedric Bow

Daedric Bow

 

• Base Damage: 19
• Weight: 18
• Rate of Fire: 0.5
• Ease to Obtain: Difficult

If you asked people who have played Skyrim, what the best bow in Skyrim is, chances are that many of them will answer with the Daedric Bow. Probably one of the best looking bow in the game, the Daedric Bow is arguably the strongest non-enchanted bow in Skyrim.

The aesthetic style of the bow is quite similar to other Daedric artifacts and items found in Skyrim. With its unique shape and recurve design, this demonic weapon is just too badass to simply ignore.

Besides being one the best-looking bows in the game, the Daedric Bow also has an impressive base damage similar to that of the Nightingale bow. However, the only reason why the bow is ranked higher than the nightingale bow is due to the fact that it can enchanted and crafted.

Now before you start spamming how to get Daedric bow, read on ahead. To craft the Daedric Bow, players will need to have level 90 smithing, the Daedric smithing perk, 1 Daedra heart, and 3 ebony ingots.

The Daedric bow can also be found as loot but it only starts to appear when the player reaches level 47. For many, the Daedric Bow would be the best bow Skyrim could offer, however, wait till you see the next item in the list.

1. The Dragonbone Bow

Dragonbone Bow

• Base Damage: 20
• Weight: 20
• Rate of Fire: 0.75
• Ease to Obtain: Difficult

If I had to label any bow as the Skyrim Best Bow it would have to be the Dragonbone bow. Skyrim is essentially a game about dragons and having the ability to craft a bow from the remains of fallen dragons that you have slain is the pinnacle of role-playing in gaming.

Now you may be asking, how to get the best bow sadly, however, the Dragonbone bow can only be obtained by crafting it. Although the Dragonbone bow can only be acquired by crafting it, there are some pretty hefty requirements – 100 smithing level, Dragon Armor Perk, 2 dragon bones, and 1 ebony ingot.

The Dragonbone Bow has the best base damage in the game and although it’s quite heavy and has an average rate of fire, the bow is dead accurate and extremely effective in wiping out enemies from existence. It’s no wonder that the Dragonbone bow is so difficult to craft and obtain, it is simply the best bow in Skyrim.

Andrew Smith

I am a hardcore gaming enthusiast who has been writing about gaming for about 10 years. I specialize in reviews, cheats, and guide based content.

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