Skyrim: 25 Best One-Handed Weapons [Expert’s Insight]

After playing Skyrim for incredible amounts of hours, I can say that these are the absoulute best one-handed weapons you will probably find!

There are many skills in Skyrim that are advantageous when battling enemies. One of them is the ability to use one-hand weapons, meaning wielding them with just a single hand. It is incredibly useful and does come in handy when fighting bigger bosses or multiple mobs of enemies and slashing and thrashing them. If one-handed weapons are wielded in both hands, the damage inflicted is doubled. When you have the best one-handed weapons on your side, you won’t have any trouble progressing with ease in Skyrim.

Key Takeaways
  • There are a total of 114 one-handed weapons in Skyrim.
  • You can use one-handed weapons to form combos that can deal double the amount of damage.
  • Miraak’s sword is probably the best one-handed sword because of its base damage in the swords category.
  • Daggers can be used for stealth-related kills. The Dragonbone dagger is probably the best one for the job.
  • The Dawnguard Rune War Axe is the best of all War Axes based on raw damage.

Comparison Table of One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim:

WeaponsBase DamageBase ValueUpgrade MaterialPerkAward Badge
Grimsever12.0350.0Refined MalachiteGlass SmithingBest for Magicka Absorption
Bolar’s Oathblade11.01014.0Quicksilver IngotSteel SmithingLunar Enhancement
The Pale Blade8.0169.0Steel IngotSteel SmithingSpecialized Against Horkers
Dawnbreaker12.0740.0Ebony Ingot NoneLunar Enhancement
Bloodscythe And Soul Render 13.01859.0One-Handed, Sword Daedric SmithingVersatile Combatant
Chillrend15.01442.0Refined MalachiteGlass SmithingCraftsmanship
Dragonbane 10.0970.0Quicksilver Ingot Steel Smithing Undead Slayer
Windshear11.040.0Steel Ingot Steel Smithing Frostborn
Miraak’s Sword12.0410.0Ebony IngotDwarven Smithing Best for Enchanting
Nightingale Blade 14.01665.0Ebony IngotNoneStandard
Bloodthorn 5.0183.0Steel IngotSteel Smithing Health Absorption
Valdr’s Lucky Dagger5.015.0Steel IngotSteel Smithing Deadly Chance
Dragonbone Dagger 12.0600.0Dragon BoneDragon ArmorBest for Enchanting
Mehrunes’ Razor 11.0880.0Ebony IngotNoneLucky Strike
Blade Of Woe12.0880.0NoneSteel Smithing Soul Capturer
Dragon Priest 6.09.0Cannot UpgradeNoneBest for Health and Stamina Absorption
Dragonbone War Axe16.01700.0Dragon BoneDragon Armor Stamina Absorption
Stalhrim War Axe 15.01180.0StalhrimEbony SmithingKnockdown Specialist
Dawnguard Rune11.0175.0Steel Ingot Steel Smithing Best for Dragon Slaying
Skyforge Steel 12.080.0Steel Ingot Steel Smithing Frostbite
Cleaver Of St. Felms14.02508.0Dwarven Metal IngotDwarven SmithingSoul and Armor Corruptor
Lunar Iron Mace9.0168.0Iron Ingot NoneUndead Exterminator
Horksbane 10.0250.0Steel Ingot Steel Smithing Frosty Intimidator
Lunar Steel Mace 10.0198.0Steel Ingot Steel Smithing Intimidator
Mace Of Molag Bal 16.01257.0Ebony IngotSteel Smithing Frosty Combatant

25. Grimsever 

The Most Easily Attainable One-Handed Weapon.
One Of The Best One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim Grimsever
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Grimsever – Image Captured by eXputer
  • Why I Chose It: This glass sword is included for its early availability in the game and its decent base damage, making it one of the best early-game weapons for players to acquire quickly.
Class One-Handed, Sword
Weight 14
Upgrade Material Refined Malachite
Base Damage 12
Base Value 350
Additional Effects Target takes 15 points of Frost Damage to Health and Stamina
Perk Glass Smithing
  • Early Availability
  • High Damage Output
  • Unique Design
  • Quest Reward
  • Limited Availability
  • Fixed Stats
  • Narrow Utility
  • One-Handed Weapon

24. Bolar’s Oathblade

The Best Crowd Controlling One-Handed Weapon.
The Bolar’s Oathblade
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Bolar’s Oathblade – Image Captured by eXputer
  • Why I Recommend This: Not only does it have solid base damage, but its additional effect of causing opponents to flee can be advantageous in crowd control situations, making it suitable for handling multiple foes.
Class One-Handed, Sword
Weight 10
Upgrade Material Quicksilver Ingot
Base Damage 11
Base Value 1014 
Additional Effects 25 points of Stamina and Damage.

Creatures and people up to level 12 can flee from combat for 30 sec.

Perk Steel Smithing
  • Exquisite Design
  • High Mobility
  • Stamina Drain
  • Crowd Control
  • Limited Damage Output
  • Restricted Utility
  • Level Restriction
  • Single-Handed Weapon

23. The Pale Blade 

The Best Early Killing One-Handed Weapon.
One Of The Best One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim The Pale Blade
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – The Pale Blade – Screenshot Captured by eXputer
  • Why I Chose The Pale Blade: With its high initial damage and additional frost damage effect, The Pale Blade is excellent for dispatching enemies swiftly, especially in the early stages of the game.
Class One-Handed, Sword 
Weight 12-15
Upgrade Material Steel Ingot
Base Damage 8-11
Base Value 169-914
Additional Effects 25 points of Frost Damage.

Creatures and people up to level 16 flee from combat for 30 seconds.

Perk Steel Smithing
  • Impressive Appearance
  • High Damage Output
  • Low Weight
  • Knockback Effect
  • Limited Utility
  • Single-Handed Limitation
  • Specialization Required:
  • Potential Obsolescence

22. Dawnbreaker 

The Most Explosive One-Handed Weapon.
The Dawnbreaker
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dawnbreaker – Image Captured by eXputer
  • Why I Recommend Dawnbreaker: This Daedric Artifact not only boasts decent base damage but also has the added ability to cause explosions that destroy nearby undead, making it highly effective against undead enemies.
Class One-Handed, Sword 
Weight 10
Upgrade Material Ebony Ingot 
Base Damage 12
Base Value 740
Additional Effects Burn for 10 points.

If killing undead, a chance to cause an explosion that destroys nearby undead.

Perk None
  • Rich Lore
  • Unique Origins
  • Symbolic Significance
  • Powerful Abilities
  • Limited Usefulness
  • Daedric Affiliation
  • Quest Dependency
  • Level Requirement

21. Bloodscythe And Soul Render 

The Best Armor Damaging One-Handed Weapon.
Two Of The Best One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim Bloodscythe And Soul Render
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Bloodscythe And Soul Render – Image by eXputer
  • Why I Chose Them: These dual-wielded weapons provide a potent combination, with their ability to absorb health and lower the target’s armor, making them formidable choices for sustained combat encounters.
Class One-Handed, Sword 
Weight 10
Upgrade Material One-Handed, Sword 
Base Damage 13
Base Value 1859
Additional Effects When wielded with Soulrender, it absorbs 15 health and has a chance to lower the target’s armor.
Perk Daedric Smithing
  • Synergistic Combat
  • Surprising Power
  • Unique Specifications: 
  • Versatile Utility
  • Visual Underwhelming
  • Dependency on Player Skill
  • Resource Management
  • Acquisition Challenges

20. Chillrend

The Best Enemy Paralyzing Damaging One-Handed Weapon.
The Chillrend
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Chillrend – Image Captured by eXputer
  • Why I Chose Chillrend: Regarded as one of the best one-handed weapons in Skyrim, Chillrend stands out due to its high base damage and the chance to paralyze opponents, offering both offensive and crowd control capabilities.
Class One-Handed, Sword 
Weight 16
Upgrade Material Refined Malachite
Base Damage 15
Base Value 1442
Additional Effects Target takes 30 points of Frost Damage.

Chance to paralyze for 2 seconds.

Perk Glass Smithing
  • Exceptional Damage
  • Unique Visual Design
  • Icy Enchantment
  • Available at Higher Levels
  • Limited Availability
  • Dependency on Level
  • Single Enchantment
  • Competition from Other Weapons

19. Dragonbane 

The Best Dragon Killing One-Handed Weapon.
One Of The Best One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim Dragonbane
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim -Dragonbane– Image Captured by eXputer
  • Why I Suggest Dragonbane: Specifically designed to defeat dragons, Dragonbane’s extra damage against dragons and shock damage against other enemies make it an essential weapon for dragon encounters and general combat situations.
Class One-Handed, Sword 
Weight 10-14
Upgrade Material Quicksilver Ingot 
Base Damage 10-14
Base Value 970-1560
Additional Effects Obtain extra 20-30 damage to dragon points.

10 points of shock damage to others.

Perk Steel Smithing 
  • Dragon-Damaging Enchantment
  • Lightweight
  • Familiar Design: 
  • Effective Against Dragons
  • Limited Utility Outside Dragon Fights
  • Restricted Purpose
  • Obtaining Requirement
  • Competition from Alternatives

18. Windshear 

The Best Bash Attacking One-Handed Weapon.
The Windshear
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Windshear – Image Captured by eXputer
  • Why I Chose Windsheer: Its unique ability to knock down enemies with bash attacks makes Windshear an invaluable weapon for crowd control, providing players with an advantage in overwhelming situations.
Class One-Handed, Sword 
Weight 10
Upgrade Material Steel Ingot 
Base Damage 11
Base Value 40
Additional Effects Bash attacks made with this weapon have a chance of knocking enemies down.
Perk Steel Smithing 
  • Exceptional Speed and Agility
  • Unique Acquisition Method
  • Versatile Design
  • Stunning Visuals
  • Limited Availability
  • Single-Handed Use Only
  • Relative Fragility
  • Specialization in Close-Quarters Combat

17. Miraak’s Sword 

The Best Stamina Absorbing One-Handed Weapon.
One Of The Best One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim Miraak’s Sword
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Miraak’s Sword – Image Captured by eXputer
  • Why I Chose It: While challenging to obtain, Miraak’s Sword offers high base damage and the ability to absorb stamina, providing players with sustained combat capabilities, especially in longer battles.
Class One-Handed, Sword 
Weight 3
Upgrade Material Ebony Ingot, Daedra Heart
Base Damage 12-16
Base Value 410-1250
Additional Effects Absorb 15 points of Stamina
Perk Dwarven Smithing 
  • Unique Appearance
  • Powerful Stats
  • Exclusivity
  • Symbolic Significance
  • Limited Availability
  • Endgame Acquisition
  • Lack of Customization
  • Heavyweight and Bulkiness

16. Nightingale Blade 

The Most Sustainable One-Handed Weapon.
The Nightingale Blade
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Nightingale Blade – Image Captured by eXputer
  • Why I Prefer Nightingale Blade: With its ability to absorb both health and stamina, the Nightingale Blade offers players sustainability in combat, making it a versatile and effective choice for various encounters.
Class One-Handed, Sword 
Weight 15
Upgrade Material Ebony Ingot
Base Damage 14
Base Value 1665
Additional Effects Absorb 25 points of Health and Stamina
Perk None
  • Unique Lore
  • Symbolism
  • Unique Design
  • Powerful Enchantments
  • Limited Availability
  • Restricted Customization
  • Dependency on Faction Membership
  • Subjective Aesthetics

15. Bloodthorn 

The Best Soul-Trapping One-Handed Weapon.
One Of The Best One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim Bloodthorn
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Bloodthorn – Image Captured by eXputer
  • Why I Suggest Bloodborne: Bloodthorn’s unique soul-trapping ability adds versatility and practicality, making it valuable early in Skyrim.
Class One-Handed, Dagger
Weight 2.5
Upgrade Material Steel Ingot
Base Damage 5
Base Value 183
Additional Effects If the target dies within 3 seconds, it fills a soul gem 
Perk Steel Smithing 
  • Swift and Deadly
  • Accessible Location
  • Versatile Use
  • Stealth Advantage
  • Limited Damage Output
  • Short Reach
  • Susceptibility to Disarmament
  • Minimal Customization

14. Valdr’s Lucky Dagger 

One-Handed Weapon With The Best Crit. Stat.
The Valdr’s Lucky Dagger
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Valdr’s Lucky Dagger – Image Captured by eXputer
  • Why I Picked It: The Valdr’s Lucky Dagger is a standout early-game choice due to its critical hit chance.
Class One-Handed, Dagger 
Weight 2.5
Upgrade Material Steel Ingot
Base Damage 5
Base Value 15
Additional Effects 25% chance of a critical hit
Perk Steel Smithing 
  • Surprising Statistics
  • Accessible Early in the Game
  • Versatile Build Potential
  • Limited Damage Output
  • Reliance on Skill and Strategy
  • Limited Enchantment Options

13. Dragonbone Dagger 

The Best Close-Combat One-Handed Weapon.
One Of The Best One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim Dragonbone Dagger
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonbone Dagger – Image Captured by eXputer
  • Why I Selected It: The Dragonbone Dagger excels with high damage potential, making it a formidable choice for close combat encounters
Class One-Handed, Dagger 
Weight 6.5
Upgrade Material Dragon Bone
Base Damage 12
Base Value 600
Additional Effects With the right amount of set points, you can make a good enchantment for it
Perk Dragon Armor
  • Surprising Statistics
  • Accessible Early in the Game
  • Versatile Build Potential
  • Limited Damage Output
  • Reliance on Skill and Strategy
  • Limited Enchantment Options

12. Mehrunes’ Razor 

One-Handed Weapon With The Best Effect.
The Mehrunes’ Razor 
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Mehrunes’ Razor  – Image Captured by eXputer
  • Why It Made The List: Mehrunes’ Razor offers a unique chance to instantly kill enemies, making it a powerful and unpredictable weapon.
Class One-Handed, Dagger 
Weight 3
Upgrade Material Ebony Ingot
Base Damage 11
Base Value 880
Additional Effects Hits have a small chance to instantly kill
Perk None
  • Exceptional Speed:
  • Significant Daedric Artifact
  • Unique Instant Kill Chance
  • Quest-Dependent Acquisition
  • Random Instant Kill Chance
  • Limited Availability

11. Blade Of Woe 

Best One-Handed Weapon For Stealth.
One Of The Best One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim Blade Of Woe
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Blade Of Woe –– Screenshot Captured by eXputer
  • Why I Prefer It: The Blade of Woe stands out with its high damage and health absorption, ideal for stealthy assassination.
Class One-Handed, Dagger 
Weight 7
Upgrade Material None
Base Damage 12
Base Value 880
Additional Effects Absorb 10 points of Health 
Perk Steel Smithing 
  • Exceptional Damage
  • Unique Association
  • Stylish Aesthetic
  • Quest-Dependent Acquisition
  • Restricted Availability
  • Weight Consideration

10. Dragon Priest 

Best One-Handed Weapon For Dagger Collection
The Dragon Priest
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim -Dragon Priest – Image Credit Copyright: eXputer
  • Why I Chose It: The Dragon Priest dagger is unique and visually stunning, perfect for collectors and fans of Skyrim lore.
Class One-Handed, Dagger
Weight 5
Upgrade Material Cannot be upgraded
Base Damage 6
Base Value 9
Additional Effects None
Perk None
  • Unique Appearance
  • Historical Significance
  • Rare and Coveted
  • Limited Availability
  • Quest-Dependent Acquisition
  • Potential Level Requirements

9. Dragonbone War Axe 

Best One-Handed Weapon For Durability.
One Of The Best One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim Dragonbone War Axe
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim -Dragonbone War Axe – [Image credit: eXputer]
  • Why I Suggest Dragonbane War Axe: The Dragonbone War Axe boasts exceptional damage and durability, making it a top choice for heavy hitters.
Class One-Handed, War Axe
Weight 21
Upgrade Material Dragon Bone
Base Damage 16
Base Value 1700
Additional Effects Enchantable
Perk Dragon Armor 
  • Superior Material
  • Heavy Damage
  • Balanced Performance
 
  • Material Scarcity
  • High Crafting Requirements
  • Weight and Encumbrance

8. Stalhrim War Axe 

Best One-Handed Weapon For Frost Damage.
The Stalhrim War Axe
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim -Stalhrim War Axe – Image Captured by us
  • Why I Prefer It: The Stalhrim War Axe’s potent frost enchantment makes it devastating against enemies vulnerable to cold damage.
Class One-Handed, War Axe
Weighth  16
Upgrade Material Stalhrim
Base Damage 15
Base Value 1180
Additional Effects Its frost damage enchantment is 25% stronger when placed with the items crafted from Stalhrim
Perk Ebony Smithing
  • Powerful Material
  • Unique Appearance
  • Versatile Crafting Requirements
  • Limited Availability
  • Geographic Restrictions
  • Dependency on Smithing Skill

7. Dawnguard Rune 

Best One-Handed Weapon For Sun Damage.
The Dawnguard Rune
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dawnguard Rune – Image Credit Copyright: eXputer
  • Why I Opted For It: The Dawnguard Rune Axe is notable for its added sun damage, making it highly effective against undead foes.
Class One-Handed, War Axe 
Weight 13
Upgrade Material Steel Ingot 
Base Damage 11
Base Value 175
Additional Effects Does 10+n sun damage to undead where n is the number of undead killed with the axe since last sunrise 
Perk Steel Smithing 
  • Sun Damage
  • Specialized Utility
  • Role in Faction Questline
  • Limited Damage Output
  • Weight Consideration
  • Niche Application

6. Skyforge Steel 

Most Versatile One-Handed Weapon.
The Skyforge Steel
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Skyforge Steel – Image Captured by us
  • Why This Was My Preference: The Skyforge Steel War Axe offers a balance of power and versatility crafted by skilled smiths in Whiterun.
Class One-Handed, War Axe
Weight 12
Upgrade Material Steel Ingot 
Base Damage 12
Base Value 80
Additional Effects Get you nice Enchantables with right amount of points
Perk Steel Smithing 
  • Enhanced Durability
  • Superior Strength
  • Symbolic Significance
  • Accessibility Requirements
  • Limited Availability
  • Inherent Specialization

5. Cleaver Of St. Felms

Best Fiery Stat. One-Handed Weapon.
The Cleaver Of St. Felms
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Cleaver Of St. Felms – Image by eXputer
  • Why I Opted For It: The Cleaver of St. Felms excels with its fiery enchantment and impressive base damage, ideal for combat.
Class One-Handed, War Axe
Weight 17
Upgrade Material Dwarven Metal Ingot
Base Damage 14
Base Value 2508
Additional Effects Burn the target for 30 points, targets on fire take extra damage.

Absorb 25 points of Magicka.

Perk Dwarven Smithing
  • Balanced Statistics
  • Unique Attributes
  • High Ranking
 
  • Limited Availability
  • Potential Quest Dependencies
  • Competition with Other Weapons

4. Lunar Iron Mace

Best Lunar Stat. One-Handed Weapon.
The Lunar Iron Mace
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Lunar Iron Mace – Image Credit Copyright: eXputer
  • Why I Lunar Iron Mace Is Preferred: The Lunar Iron Mace is exceptional due to its lunar enchantment, burning targets under the moonlight.
Class One-Handed, Mace
Weight 13
Upgrade Material Iron Ingot 
Base Damage 9
Base Value 168
Additional Effects Burns the target for 20 points, when the moons are out
Perk None
  • Superior Power
  • Unique Category
  • Visually Stunning
  • Limited Availability
  • Potential Quest Dependencies
  • Competition with Other Weapons

3. Horksbane 

Best One-Handed Weapon Against Horkers
The Horksbane Axe
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Horksbane – Screenshot Captured by eXputer
  • Why I Think It’s A Good Choice: Horksbane stands out for its effectiveness against Horkers, making it unique and useful in specific situations.
Class One-Handed, Mace
Weight 14
Upgrade Material Steel Ingot 
Base Damage 10
Base Value 250
Additional Effects Effective against horkers
Perk Steel Smithing 
  • Specialized Enchantment
  • Unique Lore
  • Targeted Effectiveness
 
  • Limited Versatility
  • Niche Application
  • Limited Availability

2. Lunar Steel Mace 

Best One-Handed Weapon For Physical Damage.
The Lunar Steel Mace
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Lunar Steel Mace – [Image credit: eXputer]
  • Why I Opted For It: The Lunar Steel Mace is notable for its lunar enchantment, which inflicted additional burn damage under moonlight.
Class One-Handed, Mace
Weight 14
Upgrade Material Steel Ingot 
Base Damage 10
Base Value 198
Additional Effects Burn the target for 10-20 points, while the moons are out
Perk Steel Smithing 
  • Specialized Enchantment
  • Unique Lore
  • Targeted Effectiveness
 
  • Limited Versatility
  • Niche Application
  • Limited Availability

1. Mace Of Molag Bal 

Best One-Handed Mace.
One Of The Best One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim Mace Of Molag Bal
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Mace Of Molag Bal – Image Credit Copyright: eXputer
  • Why I Chose Mace Of Molag Bal: The Mace of Molag Bal is renowned for its devastating damage and the ability to fill soul gems upon kills.
 
Class One-Handed, Mace
Weight 18
Upgrade Material Ebony Ingot
Base Damage 16
Base Value 1257
Additional Effects Deals 25 damage to Stamina and Magicka.

If the target dies within 3 seconds, it fills a soul gem.

Perk Steel Smithing 
  • Daedric Artifact
  • Exceptional Damage Output
  • Soul Trap Enchantment
  • Quest Requirement
  • Weight and Stamina Drain
  • Limited Range and Speed

My Take On The Best Two-Handed Weapons

Using a combo of the weapon Dawnbreaker and Mace of Molag Bal works pretty perfectly because it balances damage and can help players make avail of the additional effects of the weapons, especially when they are fighting against undead enemies, like Skeletons, Draugrs, and Dragon Priests.

The buff of Mace of Molag Bal with the benefit of filling a soul gem if the enemy dies within 3 seconds is a pretty nifty one, as it would help to have the effect stay active at all times since weapons with additional effects require soul gems to re-fill the effects once they are exercised because of battling too many enemies.

f players prefer the usage of a bow over one-handed weapons, check out the guide on how to use the bound bow. I have covered it for you if you’re confused about various alchemy recipes, like Fortify Enchanting. 

Also, make sure to check out the detailed guides over the major quests early in the game, like Blood On The Ice and In My Time Of Need. Also, check out our in-depth review of Skyrim written by our guide writer, Asad Ahmed.

Next:

Did you find this helpful? Leave feedback below.

Thanks! Do share your feedback with us. ⚡

How can we make this post better? Your help would be appreciated. ✍

Subscribe to our newsletter and get up-to-speed gaming updates delivered to your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy.

Subscribe to our newsletter and get up-to-speed gaming updates delivered to your inbox.

We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy.


Hammad Ijaz is a Guides Writer on eXputer who is into various gaming genres. He has this pure passion for enjoying games and then reflecting that passion back into his writing. Along with a gaming experience of 10+ years, he also has many years of writing experience. Hammad further solidifies his status as a true gamer by showcasing hundreds of hours of game time on Warframe, Witcher 3, and Elden Ring. Feel free to explore his extensive gaming library on Steam.

Experience: 3+ Years || Education: Bachelors in Computer Sciences.

Related Articles

Join Our Community

Enjoyed this article? Discuss the latest gaming news, get expert help with guides and errors, and chat about all things gaming on eXputer Forums and Discord Server. Connect with fellow gamers who share your passion by becoming a part of eXputer's community.