Fallout 4 Guide: Settlements Info and Tips

Check this guide out for all the info you need on settlements in Fallout 4!

Fallout 4 added a huge system called settlements. This is a housing system that allows you to build multiple communities/towns. There is so much to the settlement system that it could have been an entire expansion or DLC on its own.

People who have played Fallout Shelter will recognize many of the features in settlements. The building process also reminded me of The Sims. I'm going to help you get started by explaining everything about settlements and give you tips to create the best communities you can.

If you're looking for more help with the game, visit my Fallout 4 Beginner Tips and Tricks.

This guide will go over everything about settlements in Fallout 4 including:

  • Settlement Basics - Info on what you can do with this feature, perks to look out for, and tips.
  • Structures - The basics of building things like houses.
  • Furniture and Decorations - How to keep the interior looking good.
  • Resources, Power, and Defense - What you need to keep your settlements running, and how to defend your settlements when they get big enough.
  • Crafting and Stores - Ways to bring in extra money and items.

Settlement Basics

The biggest part of building a settlement is the actual building. You'll want to build houses, forts, or whatever to make an actual home. Any place that has a workshop can be used as a settlement.

Fallout 4 settlement workshop

Most of the time, you'll need to clear the area out or do a quest to unlock it. Here are some things to look for when getting started.

  • Structures - The buildings and fences to keep your settlement enclosed.
  • Furniture - Things to put in your building, or even outside if you're into that.
  • Decorations - If you're going to live in a post-apocalyptic world, you might as well make the most of it.

Go to the workshop of your settlement to start building. When you pull the menu you up, you can move around and select any of the features.

You can exit the menu at anytime and bring it up again without going back to the workshop, as long as you don't go anywhere else. You can also build defenses, power, resources, crafting areas, and stores. I'll explain those later.

You'll need resources, such as metal or wood, to build anything. There are a wide variety of materials needed, depending on what you want to build.

  • You can scrap things you don't need while in build mode.
    • Use this to scrap everything at a new settlement that you don't want. You can focus on one building at a time and scrap everything else for more materials.
    • If you use an item during crafting instead of breaking it down for materials, you lose any extra materials that the item has that are not used in the recipe.
  • You can also scrap items in your inventory.
    • Just drop them on the ground, then open the workshop menu. Target it to scrap it.
  • You can rotate items and move them around, even after placing them.
    • Xbox - Press RT or LT to rotate right or left
    • PC - Right or Left mouse button
    • PS4 - R2 or L2.
  • To assign someone to something, go the build mode, select the person, then select what you want to assign them to.

If you want to access extra features in settlements, you'll want to get at least 6 Charisma. This gives you access to the Local Leader Perk, which has 2 ranks.

  • Rank 1 - Establish supply lines between your workshop settlements.
    • This allows you to link your settlements through supply lines.
    • Target someone, then pull up your list of settlements. Select the settlement you want to make a supply line to. This assigns them to travel between the 2 settlements.
    • Linked settlements gives access to the inventory of any settlement linked to that one, as well as share resources.
    • This includes food and water. If you have enough food shared between your settlements, you won't need to plant food at every settlement. You would need a lot of food to do this, though.
  • Rank 2 (Requires level 14) - Allows you to build stores and workstations at your settlements.
    • When you get this perk, you can build stores that can bring in more caps and items. You'll have to assign people to work at them.
    • You can also build any workstation so you can put all your crafting in one place.

These are important perks, but I wouldn't worry about getting them until you have multiple settlements and you start building them up. You can't get the last rank until level 14 anyway, so you have time.

Below are a list of perks you need if you want access to everything in settlements:

  • Gun Nut Rank 3 - Require Int 3 and level 25.
  • Science Rank 3 - Requires Int 6 and level 28.
  • Hacker - Requires Int 4.
  • Medic - Requires Int 2.
  • Cap Collector Rank 2 - Requires Charisma 1 and level 20.


You can build walls, floors, roofs, stairs, doors, bridges, and fences in this section. There are 2 types, wood and metal. Some of the options in each category use both wood and metal.

This is where you want to start. You want to have at least one enclosed house so your people aren't wandering around outside all the time.

When building walls and roofs, most of the items can connect to each each other. When you are placing of these, the object snaps into place to show that you can do it.

These items add up quickly and your resources will be gone before you know it if you aren't paying attention. Just focus on building one house at first, preferably one that already has parts built.

When you get everything else you need, you can start adding fences and other things around the settlement.

Furniture and Decorations

Fallout 4 settlements furniture

The only immediate thing you need in this category is a bed. You need at least 1 bed for every person on your settlement. Other option in this category include: chairs, containers, shelves, tables, TVs, paintings, vending machines, and more.

These are nice additions to make your place look better, but one of the last things you should worry about.

Resources, Power, and Defense

This is the most important section to build and maintain. Resources has everything you need for food and water. You need to keep this high so your people have enough to survive. 

Food, Water, Etc.

You can place a water pump, and any vegetables you have, in dirt to supply water and food. You need to assign someone to the crops you plant so they can gather food while you're gone.

You can also build a Scavenging Station that you can assign someone to. This gives resources like steel and other things used for crafting and building. What you get is random, though.


When you start building up your settlement, you'll want to bring in more people. You can build a recruitment radio beacon to do this. It needs power to run, so make sure you build generators. You can also build terminals and place lights, which also need power.

  • To power things up, place a generator close enough to the object you want to power.
  • Make sure there are no obstacles between them, then choose "attach wire".
    • Move the wire to the object you want to power until it snaps into place, then select "attach wire" again.

Finally, you'll need to defend your settlements from raiders and other dangers. Each item in this category has a defense value. Your settlement's defense value should at least be equal to the sum of your food and water. So if you have 6 food and 5 water, your defense should be 11 or higher.

You can place guard posts, which you must assign people to. You can also build turrets and traps. The machine gun turrets don't require power, but everything else does. These are all automatic so you should focus having more on them.

Fallout 4 settlements defense

The heavy machine gun turrets offer a good defense with no power cost. You only need Gun Nut rank 1 for them. Placing 2 or 3 of those around your settlement should be all the defense value you need for a while.

Crafting and Stores

If you have the local leader rank 2 perk, you can build in this category. When you establish enough settlements, you won't need to make workstations, but it can still be useful.

It is nice to have all the workstations at one or all of your settlements. Plus, it is good to have access to power armor stations at all of your settlements.

Stores can bring in caps, make settlements happy, and offer you items to buy. You can build trader, armor, weapons, food and drink, clinic, and clothing stores. The more expensive stores give you more options.

Each store needs a person assigned to run it, so keep that in mind when building. You can get the caps by selecting transfer at workshop and going over to Misc. Now, just transfer the caps to your inventory.

This concludes my Fallout 4 Settlements Info and Tips. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments. 

Published Nov. 9th 2015
View Comments
  • George_4281
    Awesome article. This helped me out a lot. I guessed most of this information on my own. Now that I've connected supply lines between my different communities it seems like I'm under attack all the time. I upgraded to laser turrets as well and that seems to have made all the difference but it's not effective when under attack from serious monsters like giant scorpions or the mirelurks in the case of the Castle base. I wrote an article about on my website at www.zombietechs.com
  • Ryan_3648
    I don't think you're right about not keeping leftover materials after something is used for construction. I think the leftover materials are deposited in your inventory under junk in their raw form, such as steel or cloth.
  • Synzer
    Guide Editor
    Interesting, I'll have to check it out. This might be why it seemed to be lost.
  • Jake_1740
    Hey how much money do settlement stores give you and how often?
  • Synzer
    Guide Editor
    They generate caps per game day. I don't know the exact amount, but it depends on the population of the settlement and the size/type of store you use.
  • Brian_6564
    OK I'm new to fallout and im the part where I had to make beds now they need water where can I find the resources for that and should I sell my machine gun?
  • Synzer
    Guide Editor
    For water, just open up the workshop menu, go to resources, then select water. You can place a water pump, the first option, any place that has dirt.

    If you are talking about the mini-gun, it is up to you. You will find others later on, and if you don't plan on using it, you can sell it.
  • Yes-Man
    Well, how do you get the caps from stores you built in town?
  • Synzer
    Guide Editor
    Select transfer at a workshop, then go over to Misc. You'll see bottle caps there and can transfer them to your inventory.
  • Carson_4568
    Awesome guide! I just have one suggestion/question, could you perhaps provide some insight on the Size Meter in the Workshop menu? Mine is nearly full at Sanctuary. I read on IGN that once this fills, the settlement border expands allowing more building yet increased chance of being attacked? I'm curious because I walled off all of the neighborhood and built a large main complex and repurposed some of the houses into settlement homes and soon to be shops/storage areas. Will the meter stop me from building? Thanks in advance!
  • Synzer
    Guide Editor
    Honestly, I haven't tried filling up an entire settlement. It was my understanding that you only had the limited space unless you use the mod that gives you unlimited space.
  • Chris_7980
    hello! do resourses like food from farms go straight into your workshop as they are harvested by the people? and are trade routes acctually just supply lines? as i keep seeing trade routes come up and no one has answered me about trade routes
  • Synzer
    Guide Editor
    Yes, they do. I think trade routes are the same as supply lines. I've only seen supply lines.
  • Alex_7393
    Great guide! I have a decent settlement .. around 8 people w enough resources, defense etc. And the happiness randomly dropped from 70% to 62%. No attacks or anything. Again I have everything I need. Resources, beds, defense. Any idea why this happened?
  • Synzer
    Guide Editor
    If nothing was in the red, then I'm not sure what happened. Sometimes resources may go down for a short time then go back up, so it is possible they lost happiness during that time.
  • tbarcello
    So, I've built a huge tower of dominance using parts bought from traders and found... And then I read your guide, telling me, that ALL other resources, that were not used in a recipes, were GONE, when it auto-scraps them?!!

    The fun part is.... I don't mind to re-spend those 5 hours of building by loading the save! LOVE THIS GAME, that's why.
  • Synzer
    Guide Editor
    Glad to hear it. I wish you didn't have to scrap everything you use for materials, though.
  • stephen_9426
    Thanks for the extremely helpful guide, but how do i repair the power armour? im at a loss with this and im a Fallout vet lol
  • Synzer
    Guide Editor
    You must exit your power armor near a power armor station. Then, you select craft on the power armor station and highlight the piece you want to repair, and select repair.

    If you mean you run out of power, you just have to get another fusion core. Fusion cores are like ammo and you need them to sue your power armor.
  • Molecular_9136
    Really useful and well put together guide. The best I have seen for settlements so far! :)
  • Jay Ricciardi
    Glad to hear it!

Cached - article_comments_article_30145
More Fallout 4 Content

GameSkinny Newsletter

Get Fallout 4 news the moment it happens!

You have been successfully subscribed to this newsletter.