Best Bows in Skyrim, Ranking And Tier List

These are some of the best bows you will come across in Skyrim.

Bows in Skyrim are a popular weapon category. Generally, this weapon type is used for ranged and stealth playstyles. However, if Bow is going to be your primary weapon type in Skyrim, selecting the right bow is important.

There is a wide variety of bows in Skyrim, each having its benefits in terms of damage, rate of fire, distance of fire, and other abilities. To make the selection process easier for you, we have classified the best bows in Skyrim into different tiers based on how good they are.

Rank (Tier)NameID
CAncient Nord Bow000302CA
Bow of the Hunt000AB705
Imperial Bow00013841
Elven Bow0001399D
BDrainspell Bow000F82FC
Gauldur Blackbow000F5D20
Falmer Supple Bow00083167
AStalhrim BowXX026231
Dwarven Black Bow of FateXX02C01A
Ebony Bow000139AD
Glass Bow of the Stag PrinceXX018ED5
SKarliah’s Bow000DEED8
Nightingale Bow000F652C
Daedric Bow000139B5
Dragonbone BowXX0176F1

Ancient Nord Bow

Ancient Nord Bow is a C-category bow in this list. This bow has a base damage of 9 but can be upgraded. This bow is among the bows that players can get early in the game. It is a good choice bow for beginners. It can be forged once players unlock the Steel Smithing perk.

This bow can be found upon looting skeletons and draugrs.

Bow of the Hunt

bow of the hunt

As the name suggests, the Bow of the Hunt is a bow made for hunting. Without any minimum level requirement and a base damage of 10, this bow is good for beginners in Skyrim but what makes this bow special for hunting is that it inflicts 20 points of damage to animals. The Bow of the Hunt can be forged after unlocking the Steel Smithing perk.

This bow can be found at the back of the Clearspring Tarn cave. Defeat the troll inside and pick up the bow, and it’s all yours.

Imperial Bow

imperial bow skyrim

Imperial Bow is among the standard bows players can get early on in the game. This bow has a base damage of 9 and does not come with an enchantment. There is no level requirement on this bow so players will even be able to find this bow on level 1. Steel Smithing perk is required to upgrade this bow.

This bow can be found on any Imperial Guard and in most loot chests.

Elven Bow

Elven Bow skyrim

The Elven Bow is a decent bow to have in Skyrim. Even tho it becomes available for players on level 19 and afterward, this bow can be obtained even at level 1. The bow has a base damage of 14 and has no enchantment. Having such a damaging bow at the start of the game, especially for mages and thieves, is a treat.

This bow can be found on Northwatch Archers’ dead bodies after killing them on the required level. It can also be bought from Blacksmiths.

Drainspell Bow

drainspell bow skyrim

Drainspell Bow is a Nordic bow in Skyrim. This bow has a spectral design to it, resembling ghosts. This bow has a base damage of 14 points with an enchantment that drains 15 points of Magicka per arrow from the enemy. Unfortunately, this bow cannot be upgraded.

Players can find this bow only during The Staff of Magnus quest when players enter the Labyrinthian. Slay the spectral draugrs to loot them and find this bow among other Ghost Weapons.


zephyr bow skyrim

Zephyr is a unique Dwarven bow. Its base damage is 12 which quite frankly is not the best, but what makes this bow stand out is that it has a faster fire rate than any other bow in Skyrim. A good 30% to be exact. Further upgrades can be made to this bow to improve damage and speed.

This bow is found in the Dwemer Ruins during the quest “Lost to the Ages.”

Gauldur Blackbow

gauldur blackbow skyrim

Gauldur Blackbow is another Nord bow. Some people even call it the upper level of an Ancient Nord Bow due to their similarities in design. This bow has a 14 base damage and an enchantment that absorbs 30 points of magicka from the enemy upon each hit. It can also be upgraded after unlocking the Dwarven Smithing perk.

During the quest “Forbidden Legend,” players can get their hands on this bow. Sigdis Gauldurson has this bow, which can be taken from him after killing him.

Falmer Supple Bow

falmer supple bow skyrim

The Falmer Supple Bow is an upgraded version of the Falmer Bow. It has more damage and fire distance. Its base damage is 15. It is regarded as one of the heaviest bows in Skyrim. This bow can be enchanted, but it cannot be upgraded.

This bow can be found in the loot collected from Falmer Gloomlurkers.

Stalhrim Bow

stalhrim bow skyrim

Stalhrim Bow is a fascinating bow that truly captivates the eyes. This bow has a base damage of 15 and does not have any enchantment on it. However, enchantments can be attached and if it is a frost enchantment, its effects are increased by 25%. For upgrades, this bow requires players to have Ebony Smithing perk unlocked.

This bow can be bought from Baldor Iron-Shaper(Skaal Village) and Glover Mallory(Raven Rock).

Dwarven Black Bow of Fate

dwarven black bow of fate skyrim

The Dwarven Black Bow of Fate is a Dwarven bow. If considered its base damage only, which is 13, it might not make it to this tier. But the reason why this bow is up on the list is because of its enchantment. This bow has a 50% chance to drain the enemy’s health, stamina, or magicka of 25 points. Upgrade it on the grindstone and it will become a force to reckon with.

This bow can be found in Kagrumez. Complete the missing Resonance Gems in the central hall and it will open the path that leads to the bow.

Ebony Bow

ebony bow skyrim

One of the fan favorites, the Ebony Bow is a simple bow with a base damage of 17. A pretty balanced bow in terms of damage, weight, and rate of fire. This bow is unenchanted and can be enchanted after unlocking the Ebony Smithing perk.

This bow can be bought from Falas Selvayn before reaching the required level (36).

Glass Bow of the Stag Prince

glass bow of stag prince skyrim

A Glass Bow with a unique ability. The Glass bow of the Stag Prince has a base damage of 16. The unique thing about this bow is its effect; for every 20 animals killed, the wielder of the bow receives an increase in stamina and health. This effect increases for every 20 animals killed up to 80 animals killed in total.

This bow can be pickpocketed from Falas Selvayn at Ramshackle Trading Post.

Karliah’s Bow

karliah's bow skyrim

The Karliah’s Bow is very similar in design to the Nightingale Bow. This unique bow cannot be obtained unless its console command is used. It belongs to the S tier as it is arguably the strongest bow in terms of base damage in Skyrim. It packs a solid 25 base damage. What is not beneficial about this bow is that it cannot be buffed with the effects of perks. Although it can be upgraded.

Write its ID mentioned in the table above to get this bow.

Nightingale Bow

nightingale bow

Another fan favourite, the Nightingale Bow is a solid selection for players that want a stealth build. This bow does 19 points of base damage. This bow is seen being used by the Thieves Guild. Its enchanted version has frost and shock damage while the unenchanted version does not. This bow is leveled, meaning it will gain levels as you go on using this bow in Skyrim. With certain levels comes an increase in its stats as well.

This bow is given to players after the completion of the quest “Blindsighted.”

Daedric Bow

daedric bow skyrim

The Daedric Bow, as in previous games, has always been a top choice for players. This bow compliments the demonic design that has been going on for Daedric weapons. This bow deals a base damage of 19. This bow can be upgraded and enchanted as it comes in both enchanted and unenchanted variants. Upgrading or Smithing requires the Daedric Smithing perk unlocked.

This bow can be bought from Niranye( Windhelm) and Tonilia( Riften). It also drops in loot of dead Legendary Dragons.

Dragonbone Bow

dragonbone bow skyrim

The Dragonbone Bow is a long bow in Skyrim. This bow has a base damage of 20 and is the strongest bow in Skyrim unless we count Karliash’s Bow. The Dragonbone bow requires a level of  45 to become available in the game. It requires Smithing level 100. It can be upgraded on the grindstone after that. A lethal bow with the most fire distance in the game.

This bow can be looted off of one of the 3 Keepers in Soul Cairn.

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