Skyrim: Heavy Armor vs Light Armor, Which One Is Better?

Light armor for stealth and mobility while Heavy armor for high defense and melee combat.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim gives players a variety of options when it comes to armor. These armor sets vary depending on stats like armor rating, attributes, and weight. These attributes ultimately define what armor best suits your character and play style.

Armor is categorized into two types in Skyrim: Light Armor and Heavy Armor (there is no medium armor in Skyrim). The obvious difference between the two types of armor is their weight. Light armor has less weight, making it more suitable for an agile play style, whereas heavy armor is heavier and is used by brutes who wish to take on more blows and fight at close distances. In this guide, we will compare the two armor types in Skyrim and talk about which armor set will suit you the best.

When to choose Light Armor in Skyrim

Light Armor, as the name suggests, is light in weight. In Skyrim, your character’s carrying capacity is a key aspect to look at. It defines how many items can be carried by a character. Each item in Skyrim holds a significant weight with which you categorize what to carry and what not to carry. Light Armor comes in handy in this regard due to its low carry weight.

When creating a character of your choice, using gear that suits your play style is important. And if your playstyle includes a more agile and swift, then Light Armor is the way to go. In Skyrim, Stamina is consumed based on your carry capacity, so if you are near your total carry capacity, then you will consume more stamina during sprinting and dodging. Light armor is used to tackle this problem. Not only that, but Light Armor also grants players passive bonuses like stamina regen, more magicka capacity, and avoiding damage. Players can wield dual weapons because of Light Armor’s low carry capacity.

Races that go hand in hand with Light Armor are High Elf, Argonian, Wood Elf, Dunmer, Nord, Orcs, and Redguard. These races also favor Stealth and Mage classes. So, if you are building a character of these classes, Light Armor is beneficial.

When to choose Heavy Armor in Skyrim

In comparison, Heavy Armor in Skyrim has a lot of weight, which decreases the player’s movement speed, decreases muffle, and increases stamina cost. The benefit, however, is that you gain an armor rating and a high armor rating is necessary for close combat.

In Skyrim, enemies like the Giants and Sabre Cats deal a lot of damage in the early phases of the game as players are hunting for ingredients and crafting items, and you come across such strong animals. You do not have the strength to kill these beasts easily, so it is understandable to have an armor set that can save you to an extent. A full set of Heavy Armor gives players additional buffs in increased armor rating and increased damage dealt to enemies.

Warrior classes are more favorable for using Heavy Armor. Races like Khajiit, Imperial, Nord, Orcs, and Breton grant players buffs in terms of combat and defense and are the best races for warrior builds.

Light Armor or Heavy Armor, which one should you choose?

An immersive RPG like Skyrim allows players to try out new gear, techniques, and possibilities to play the game. Choosing the best armor set that matches your play style can be a little tricky. There is always room for improvement.

Light armor or heavy armor, which one should you go for? The answer to this question lies in the player’s choice of play. If the player wants to play a mobility-friendly and stealth-based game where speed is a big factor, then Light Armor is your option.

If players love to dive into combat with a heavy sword or a hammer and go hit for hit with the enemies in front of them, then Heavy Armor is their choice of defense. Both armor sets provide players with armor ratings; the difference arises when you understand how much armor is needed in a given situation. If you are killing enemies from afar, then there is no point in loading yourself with a heavy armor set as you are practically not getting hit at all.

Similarly, there is no point in having a low armor rating if you want to jump into a horde of enemies. That’s suicide. Players can use potions and enchantments to grant additional defense, including resistance against poison and magic-based attacks. Some enchantments even increase the armor rating of your armor set. Some reduce the stamina cost. Players utilize these buffs in various ways to aid in choosing playstyle and armor set usability.

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Ali is a passionate RPG gamer. He believes that western RPGs still have a lot to learn from JRPGs. He is editor-in-chief at but that doesn't stop him from writing about his favorite video ...