Skyrim Best Bows Tier List: Every Bow Ranked

Find out which bows are the best with the help of our bow tier list guide to Skyrim, with every single bow ranked.

Bows have always been considered the best type of physical ranged weapon in Skyrim. They are light and strong, and can be easily upgraded at the grind stone. There are over 30 bows in the game, some of which are unique and cannot be crafted or purchased. These bows usually are the most powerful ones in the game and have special enchantments on them.

This tier list guide will list the best bows in Skyrim, as well rank every other bow that is present in the game. Some of the top-tier bows will require you to not only reach high levels of progression but also go on various complicated quests. Be sure that most of them are worth it and they will serve you well throughout the rest of your walkthrough.

Skyrim S-Tier Bows

Nightingale Bow

  • Damage: 19
  • Speed: 0.50

What makes Nightingale Bow really special is the leveled design. This means that the higher level your character is, the higher damage Nightingale Bow deals. Your character leve also influences the power of enchantments that can be applied to this bow. As soon as you reach Level 46 or above, Nightingale Bow easily becomes the strongest bow in Skyrim.

Since it's a unique bow, you cannot craft it or buy it anywhere. You can only obtain it after completing the "Blindsighted" quest, given by Brynjolf at Riften, The Rift.

You will also notice that Nightingale Bow is imbued with two enchantments:

  • Frost Damage
  • Shock Damage.

Lastly, you can improve it at the grind stone with the help of an Ebony Ingot and Arcane Blacksmith perk.

Dragonbone Bow

  • Damage: 20
  • Speed: 0.75

Dragon bone weapons are universally acclaimed as the best weapons in Skyrim, and the Dragonbone Bow is not an exception.

This is an extremely powerful bow that can be looted from the Keepers at the Soul Cairn plane in Oblivion, or you could craft it after reaching Smithing Level 100 and unlocking Dragon Armor perk. The crafting recipe is the following:

  • 2x Dragon Bone
  • 1x Ebony Ingot

Skyrim A-Tier Bows

Bow of Shadows

  • Damage: 19
  • Speed: 0.94

Bow of Shadows was originally a Creation Club item, but now it is available to all owners of the Skyrim Anniversary Edition for free. This unique bow grants players invisibility.

This unique bow cannot be crafted, and can only be obtained after completing the "In the Shadows" quest, given by Proventus Avenicci, an imperial steward at Whiterun.

Bow of Shadows is imbued with two enhcnatments:

  • Invisibility
  • Quick Shot

The latter one makes you draw arrows 20% faster than usual.

Daedric Bow

  • Damage: 19
  • Speed: 0.50

Daedric Bow is definitely one of the most powerful bows in Skyrim, and luckily you can simply find it in the open world without the need to complete obscure quests.

There is a big chance of it dropping from legendary and revered dragons, but you can also find it in the following locations after you reach Level 47:

  • Purchasable from Niranye, merchant of Windhelm
  • Purchasable from Tonilia, a thief of Riften
  • Purchasable from Dremora Merchant, using Black Market spell
  • Inside the Brood Cavern, Hjaalmarch
  • Inside the Syndus' Shop at The Ragged Flagon Tavern, The Rift

Daedric Bow can also be crafted or conjured. You can find a complete description of both of these methods in our guide on Daedric Weapons.

Stalhrim Bow

  • Damage: 17
  • Speed: 0.56

There are several very rare materials in Skyrim, and Stalhrim is one of them. It can only be mined in Solstheim, using the Ancient Nordic Pickaxe.

This rare material makes Stalhrim Bow especially suitable for various frost enchantments. Before you can craft this bow you need to complete the "A New Source of Stalhrim" quest, given by Deor Woodcutter at Skaal Village, Solstheim, reach Smithing Level 80 and unlock the Ebony Smithing perk. Then, you can craft Stalhrim Bow with the help of 3x Stalhrim.

You can also find this bow in the following locations:

  • Purchasable from Baldor Iron-Shaper, a blacksmith of Skaal Village
  • Purchasable from Glover Mallory, a blacksmith of Raven Rock

Skyrim B-Tier Bows

Dwarven Black Bow of Fate

  • Damage: 13
  • Speed: 0.75

This unique bow may not possess the highest damage, but it has one of a kind enchantment that absorbs health, stamina, and even magicka.

There is no way players can craft or purchase the Dwarven Black Bow of Fate, and there are no quests associated with it. However, there is a way to obtain it, if you follow these steps:

  1. Obtain at least four Kagrumez Resonance Gems
  2. Arrive at Kagrumez, south of Temple of Miraak, Solstheim
  3. Place the gems in the correct order to open the gates
  4. Enter the southeast room
  5. Pick up the Dwarven Black Bow of Fate from the rack

Ebony Bow

  • Damage: 17
  • Speed: 0.56

The Ebony Bow has the same stats as the Stalhrim Bow but without the frost enchantment suitability.

But other than that, it's a really strong bow and obtaining it is a lot easier once you achieve Level 37. You can loot this bow from Draugr Deathlords that protect Word Walls, or purchase it from Falas Selvayn, a merchant at Ramshackle Trading Post, Solstheim.

You can also craft the Ebony Bow, after reaching Smithing Level 80 and unlocking Ebony Smithing perk, using only 3x Ebony ingots.

Auriel's Bow

  • Damage: 13
  • Speed: 1.00

Here is a unique bow that is designed specifically to deal with undead mobs. Auriel's Bow is imbued with the Sun Damage enchantment that deals three times more damage to the undead than the regular bow.

This bow cannot be crafted or purchased. But you can obtain it after completing the "Touching the Sky" quest, given by Serana, a pure blood vampire, who can be encountered at the Dimhollow Crypt, The Pale.

The bow itself can be found inside the Inner Sanctum of the Forgotten Vale, Haafingar.

Gauldur Blackbow

  • Damage: 14
  • Speed: 0.88

Gauldur Blackbow is very similar in design to Dwarven Black Bow of Fate, but its enchantment can only absorb magicka.

As expected, this bow cannot be crafted or purchased. You can obtain it only after completing the "Forbidden Legend" quest, which begins right after you read the "Lost Legends" book. You can purchase the book from Urag gro-Shub, a librarian mage of the Arcanaeum at the College of Winterhold.

Gauldur Blackbow can be looted during this quest from Sigdis Gauldurson at the Geirmund's Hall, The Rift.

Skyrim C-F Tier Bows

The rest of the bows in Skyrim will be listed in tiers C, D, E, and F from best to worst:

Glass Bow 15 0.63 C+
Firiniel's End 13 0.69 C+
Zephyr 12 1.00 C+
Nordic Bow 13 0.69 C
Elven Bow 13 0.69 C
Drainspell Bow 14 0.88 C
Bow of the Hunt 10 0.94 C
Falmer Supple Bow 15 0.75 C
Glass Bow of the Stag Prince 16 0.63 C-
Froki's Bow 6 1.00 C-
Dwarven Bow 12 0.75 C-
Supple Ancient Nord Bow 14 0.88 C-
Nord Hero Bow 11 0.88 C-
Orcish Bow 10 0.88 D+
Forsworn Bow 12 0.88 D+
Falmer Bow 12 0.75 D+
Imperial Bow 9 0.75 D
Angi's Bow 7 0.94 D-
Dravin's Bow 7 0.94 D-
Hunting Bow 7 0.94 D-
Ancient Nord Bow 8 0.88 E
Long Bow 6 1.00 F


Related Guides

Those are the best bows in Skyrim. For more Skyrim tips and tricks articles, please check out the links above.


Sergey has been a freelancer in the video games industry for more than five years, writing for various publications around the world. His favorite games are MtG, Dark Souls, Diablo, and Divinity: Original Sin.

Published Dec. 3rd 2021

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