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

Here are the best one-handed weapons in Skyrim that will help you win deadly boss fights in Skyrim

There are many skills in Skyrim that are advantageous when battling enemies. One of them is the ability to one-hand weapons, meaning wielding them with just a single hand. It is incredibly useful and does come in handy when fighting bigger bosses. The damage inflicted is doubled since you can wield two single-handed weapons simultaneously. When you have the best one-handed weapons on your side, you won’t have any trouble progressing in Skyrim.

Key Takeaways
  • You can use one-handed weapons to form combos that can deal double the amount of damage.
  • In the swords category, Miraak’s sword is probably the best one-handed weapon due to base damage.
  • Daggers can be used to get stealthy kills, and the Dragonbone dagger is probably the best one for the job.
  • Based on just Damage, the Dawnguard Rune War Axe is the best of all War Axes. 
  • The Mace of Molag Bal is easily the best Mace of all but is a little hard to get, especially in the early levels.

Comparison Table of One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim:

WeaponsBase DamageBase ValueUpgrade MaterialPerk
Grimsever12.0350.0Refined MalachiteGlass Smithing
Bolar’s Oathblade11.01014.0Quicksilver IngotSteel Smithing
The Pale Blade8.0169.0Steel IngotSteel Smithing
Dawnbreaker12.0740.0Ebony IngotNone
Bloodscythe And Soul Render 13.01859.0One-Handed, SwordDaedric Smithing
Chillrend15.01442.0Refined MalachiteGlass Smithing
Dragonbane 10.0970.0Quicksilver IngotSteel Smithing
Windshear11.040.0Steel IngotSteel Smithing
Miraak’s Sword12.0410.0Ebony IngotDwarven Smithing
Nightingale Blade 14.01665.0Ebony IngotNone
Bloodthorn 5.0183.0Steel IngotSteel Smithing
Valdr’s Lucky Dagger5.015.0Steel IngotSteel Smithing
Dragonbone Dagger 12.0600.0Dragon BoneDragon Armor
Mehrunes’ Razor 11.0880.0Ebony IngotNone
Blade Of Woe12.0880.0NoneSteel Smithing
Dragon Priest 6.09.0Cannot UpgradeNone
Dragonbone War Axe16.01700.0Dragon BoneDragon Armor
Stalhrim War Axe 15.01180.0StalhrimEbony Smithing
Dawnguard Rune11.0175.0Steel IngotSteel Smithing
Skyforge Steel12.080.0Steel IngotSteel Smithing
Cleaver Of St. Felms14.02508.0Dwarven Metal IngotDwarven Smithing
Lunar Iron Mace9.0168.0Iron IngotNone
Horksbane10.0250.0Steel IngotSteel Smithing
Lunar Steel Mace10.0198.0Steel IngotSteel Smithing
Mace Of Molag Bal16.01257.0Ebony IngotSteel Smithing


Most of the swords in the game can be easily seen and recognized as they are basically these long-bladed sharp-edged edge weapons. They have a decent damage power with a good reach while cutting down opponents. Many of the swords can be easily upgraded through various different points on the map. They’re usually found are blacksmiths and are upgraded through various materials so that you can make the best one-handed weapon in Skyrim


One Of The Best One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim Grimsever
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Grimsever – Image Captured by eXputer

When you first glance at the glass sword, you can just see why it is named the Grimsever. The Grimsever is the best of the early game weapons in Skyrim and is agreed upon by many of the people on Reddit. It can be retrieved through the early quests of the game. There is a unique way of getting the Grimsever since it is found only once you start the “Retriever Grimsever” mission. The quest is specifically for the Mjoll, The Lioness.

ClassOne-Handed, Sword
Upgrade MaterialRefined Malachite
Base Damage12
Base Value350
Additional EffectsTarget takes 15 points of Frost Damage to Health and Stamina
PerkGlass Smithing

Bolar’s Oathblade

The Bolar’s Oathblade
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Bolar’s Oathblade – Image Captured by eXputer

Now, this is what we call a true sword in its own right. The beautiful katana has its own melody of killings apart from just its visual aesthetics. On the go, it has the normal base damage of 11 and just a weight of 10. If you are not impressed with that, it also tends to have the extra 25 damage to the stamina of the opponents. The abilities of the one-handed sword come along with the power of making monsters of level 12 or below move about from the battlefield.

ClassOne-Handed, Sword
Upgrade MaterialQuicksilver Ingot
Base Damage11
Base Value1014 
Additional Effects25 points of Stamina and Damage.

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

PerkSteel Smithing

The Pale Blade 

One Of The Best One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim The Pale Blade
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – The Pale Blade – Screenshot Captured by eXputer

Well, it is a weapon that doesn’t “Pale” in comparison to the other best one-handed weapons in Skyrim. Pun intended. The Pale blade has a dark gothic appearance and definitely overpowers the initial creatures in the game. Early on, you can use the one-handed weapon to kill multiple foes in Skyrim. It is said because of its amazing initial damage of 11 in Skyrim, along with the weight of just 10. The damage is enough to knock back enemies easily.

ClassOne-Handed, Sword 
Upgrade MaterialSteel Ingot
Base Damage8-11
Base Value169-914
Additional Effects25 points of Frost Damage.

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

PerkSteel Smithing


The Dawnbreaker
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dawnbreaker – Image Captured by eXputer

This Daedric Artifact has one of the best lore in the game currently, as it dates back to the Meridia. She was the prince of Daerdia, and all the nation compared her to the relics of light and energy. So basically a deity with the befitting title of “Lady Of Infinite Energies.” Not much of a bad character she was but she had some good deep inside her, making her choice of weapon worth enough to wield. Her quest to find a champion leads her to Dawnbreaker.

ClassOne-Handed, Sword 
Upgrade MaterialEbony Ingot 
Base Damage12
Base Value740
Additional EffectsBurn for 10 points.

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


Bloodscythe And Soul Render 

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

It may seem like you are hacking, but wielding the weapons of this standard together can lead to victory against every big enemy. They might not look much when seen visually, but they can pack quite a punch with their attributes combing together. You can get the best result when you use the one-handed weapon built together in Skyrim. They both have their own unique specs to them, especially when we are talking about their enchantments.

ClassOne-Handed, Sword 
Upgrade MaterialOne-Handed, Sword 
Base Damage13
Base Value1859
Additional EffectsWhen wielded with Soulrender, it absorbs 15 health and has a chance to lower the target’s armor.
PerkDaedric Smithing


The Chillrend
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Chillrend – Image Captured by eXputer

Definitely, without any question, the best one-handed weapon in the sword category in Skyrim is the Chillrend. Many of the forums on Reddit agree that Chillrend is one of if not the best one-handed weapons. The lore of the icy weapon leads back to Mercer Frey who was the leader of the Thieves Guild. Chillrend is a legendary weapon and its highest version can be obtained only after passing level 46.

ClassOne-Handed, Sword 
Upgrade MaterialRefined Malachite
Base Damage15
Base Value1442
Additional EffectsTarget takes 30 points of Frost Damage.

Chance to paralyze for 2 seconds.

PerkGlass Smithing


One Of The Best One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim Dragonbane
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim -Dragonbane– Image Captured by eXputer

Yet another katana blade in the game that can be really damaging when used right. We have put the Dragonbane instead of the Dragonbone, which is also remarkable but lacks heavily due to its weight. The Dragonbane looks a lot like the Akaviri katana. Apart from being familiar to you, it also has an amazing effect due to its enchantments. The sole purpose of the Dragonbane is delivered from its name. It is meant to defeat the Dragons found in the game.

ClassOne-Handed, Sword 
Upgrade MaterialQuicksilver Ingot 
Base Damage10-14
Base Value970-1560
Additional EffectsObtain extra 20-30 damage to dragon points.

10 points of shock damage to others.

PerkSteel Smithing 


The Windshear
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Windshear – Image Captured by eXputer

An incredibly fast and agile sword that can even match up to the likes of Excalibar is the Windshear. You can retrieve this one-of-a-kind best one-handed early game weapon in Skyrim from the Dark Brother’s quest known as the “Hail Sithis!” You can clearly see it hanging out on the beam and wooden plank of the ship known as the Katariah. You can get the ship during the mission or even afterward. The weapon highly resembles the weapon known as the Scimitar.

ClassOne-Handed, Sword 
Upgrade MaterialSteel Ingot 
Base Damage11
Base Value40
Additional EffectsBash attacks made with this weapon have a chance of knocking enemies down.
PerkSteel Smithing 

Miraak’s Sword 

One Of The Best One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim Miraak’s Sword
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Miraak’s Sword – Image Captured by eXputer

Now for the incredibly creepy-looking bulky sword, we will be talking about Miraak’s Sword. The battle army directly working under the deities fit the sword. It is a remarkable choice for a weapon especially early game when you are in dire need of the best one-handed weapon builds in Skyrim. You can only retrieve the weapon from Miraak himself once you defeat him in battle and kill him. It will be extremely hard but worth it in the end because you get the sword.

ClassOne-Handed, Sword 
Upgrade MaterialEbony Ingot, Daedra Heart
Base Damage12-16
Base Value410-1250
Additional EffectsAbsorb 15 points of Stamina
PerkDwarven Smithing 

Nightingale Blade 

The Nightingale Blade
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Nightingale Blade – Image Captured by eXputer

The black gothic blade Nightingale actually represents the protectors known as the Nightingales themselves. Their sole purpose is to protect the shrines dedicated to the Daedric Prince. It is a sort of secret society inside the Thieves Guild in which there are multiple Shrines of the Prince, who is the deity of Luck and Darkness. Apart from very interesting lore, the weapon has many aspects to itself, especially when we are speaking of the enchantments of the weapon.

ClassOne-Handed, Sword 
Upgrade MaterialEbony Ingot
Base Damage14
Base Value1665
Additional EffectsAbsorb 25 points of Health and Stamina


The most versatile pieces of weaponry that you can use in Skyrim are the daggers. They are miniature versions of swords that are short and handy when it comes to killing. They are incredibly fast and, in fact, faster than all forms of weaponry like Swords, Axes, and Maces. When it comes to having a stealthier kill, you should always opt for a dagger as it does the job quicker. The only place it lacks is the base damage it does when compared to the others.


One Of The Best One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim Bloodthorn
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Bloodthorn – Image Captured by eXputer

It is a nifty little dagger that does the job of killing very easily and swiftly, especially when it comes to closer ranges. Judging by its name, you can probably guess how deadly it can be, and it is best used early in the game as you can one-handed weapon build it earlier in Skyrim. The steel dagger can be retrieved from the balcony at Hag’s End. It is a sort of tomb which is located directly north and towards the east of Markarth.

ClassOne-Handed, Dagger
Upgrade MaterialSteel Ingot
Base Damage5
Base Value183
Additional EffectsIf the target dies within 3 seconds, it fills a soul gem 
PerkSteel Smithing 

Valdr’s Lucky Dagger 

The Valdr’s Lucky Dagger
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Valdr’s Lucky Dagger – Image Captured by eXputer

Upon first glance at the dagger, you may assume it is just a normal-looking one. The steel dagger might surprise you with its statistics which resemble the Bloodthorn in many ways. It has a little damage of 5 with a light weight of 2.5, and the best part about it is that you can access it early in the game. This makes it the best early-game one-handed weapon in Skyrim that you can make a build of.

ClassOne-Handed, Dagger 
Upgrade MaterialSteel Ingot
Base Damage5
Base Value15
Additional Effects25% chance of a critical hit
PerkSteel Smithing 

Dragonbone Dagger 

One Of The Best One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim Dragonbone Dagger
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dragonbone Dagger – Image Captured by eXputer

Of all the daggers available, Dragonbone Dagger is definitely the best one-handed weapon that you can build. It is made from the bones of dragons and is a deadly little weapon in your hand. When you first look at the dagger, it won’t seem much visually since it has a small handle. The blade kind of resembles a feather but attack-wise, definitely not. Once you have increased your smithing level to 100, you will be able to have a crack at making the weapon itself.

ClassOne-Handed, Dagger 
Upgrade MaterialDragon Bone
Base Damage12
Base Value600
Additional EffectsWith the right amount of set points, you can make a good enchantment for it
PerkDragon Armor

Mehrunes’ Razor 

The Mehrunes’ Razor 
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Mehrunes’ Razor  – Image Captured by eXputer

A way lighter Daedric weapon with the speed of a dagger, we have Mehrunes’ Razor. The dagger has great meaning to the followers of the Daedric Prince since it is a rare artifact. The Mehrunes Dagon can only be retrieved during the ongoing quest “Pieces Of The Past.” In that quest, you have to directly kill off Silus Vesuius and in doing so you will get the artifact you so require. There are a total of four pieces of artifacts you have to collect beforehand.

ClassOne-Handed, Dagger 
Upgrade MaterialEbony Ingot
Base Damage11
Base Value880
Additional EffectsHits have a small chance to instantly kill

Blade Of Woe 

One Of The Best One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim Blade Of Woe
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Blade Of Woe –– Screenshot Captured by eXputer

Now one of the darkest and most beautiful-looking weapons in the game is the Blade Of Woe. Of course, who other than the leader of the Dark Brotherhood will have this magnificent dagger? On many Reddit forums, people have voted for it to be the one-handed weapon dagger in Skyrim. It has similar damage to the Dragonbone damage and puts up with it at being the best. It has a damage of 12 and a weight of 7, which is amazing for a dagger of this standard.

ClassOne-Handed, Dagger 
Upgrade MaterialNone
Base Damage12
Base Value880
Additional EffectsAbsorb 10 points of Health 
PerkSteel Smithing 

Dragon Priest 

The Dragon Priest
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim -Dragon Priest – Image Credit Copyright: eXputer

It is one of the more unique-looking daggers in the game. Even most users on multiple Reddit channels agree is the best one-handed dagger weapon in Skyrim, build and look-wise. The dagger is simply magnificent and has a dark lure to begin with. At the beginning of the Dragon era, the Dragon Priests used to use it for their sacrifices. Their rituals were done to serve their lord, and ever since, the dagger has been lost. It is extremely rare weaponry.

ClassOne-Handed, Dagger
Upgrade MaterialCannot be upgraded
Base Damage6
Base Value9
Additional EffectsNone

War Axes 

The War Axes in Skyrim are pretty balanced when considering how damaging they are when compared to swords. They are faster than the maces and can be the difference between life and death fighting with the bigger beings. The swing of an axe is damaging, so it is best to use them against bigger opponents like the dragons. Round the blacksmith places, the War Axes can be upgraded at least most of them. 

Dragonbone War Axe 

One Of The Best One-Handed Weapons In Skyrim Dragonbone War Axe
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim -Dragonbone War Axe – [Image credit: eXputer]
At his point, even you may as well know the significance of the Dragonbone material, as it tends just to make every weapon better. It is superior to any material there is in the game, and that is why it makes such great weapons. If we talk about the Dragonbone War Axe, it is no less as it tends to deal heavy amounts of damage in a short frame of time. The Dragonbone War Axe is the most balanced version of a weapon of all the other Dragonbone-based weapons.

ClassOne-Handed, War Axe
Upgrade MaterialDragon Bone
Base Damage16
Base Value1700
Additional EffectsEnchantable
PerkDragon Armor 

Stalhrim War Axe 

The Stalhrim War Axe
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim -Stalhrim War Axe – Image Captured by us

Another rare material-formed Axe that can obliterate opponents in a matter of seconds is the Stalhrim War Axe. The Stalhrim resource tends to be extremely pretty as well with its shade of blue. These Stalhrim artifacts have great power and potency when compared to the normal resources. It is a rare ore, though, which makes it a difficult job to craft one. You can craft the axe by just combining two leather strips and two Stalhrim ores.

ClassOne-Handed, War Axe
Weighth 16
Upgrade MaterialStalhrim
Base Damage15
Base Value1180
Additional EffectsIts frost damage enchantment is 25% stronger when placed with the items crafted from Stalhrim
PerkEbony Smithing

Dawnguard Rune 

The Dawnguard Rune
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Dawnguard Rune – Image Credit Copyright: eXputer

Now onto the even more powerful axe, we have the Dawnguard Axe, which is a great weapon for the mass destruction of creatures. The base damage for the weapon is 11, and a weight of 13, and these stats are pretty low compared to the others. However, you do have to consider the fact the Sun damage does to the undead. It does about 10 points worth of damage which is pretty insane if you think about it. With this ability, you can see how well it does against them.

ClassOne-Handed, War Axe 
Upgrade MaterialSteel Ingot 
Base Damage11
Base Value175
Additional EffectsDoes 10+n sun damage to undead where n is the number of undead killed with the axe since last sunrise 
PerkSteel Smithing 

Skyforge Steel 

The Skyforge Steel
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Skyforge Steel – Image Captured by us

For the Skyforge Steel War Axe, you may have to your move your way about more in the game. You have to move toward Mead Hall in Whiterun to find the great Eorland Gray-Mane, who will help create the Skyforge Steel weaponry. Skyforge Steel is no ordinary steel. It is stronger, and it is durable; it is Better. IT IS BETTER. Apart from the obvious Homelander pun, the Skyforge Steel material weapons are a force to be reckoned with.

ClassOne-Handed, War Axe
Upgrade MaterialSteel Ingot 
Base Damage12
Base Value80
Additional EffectsGet you nice Enchantables with right amount of points
PerkSteel Smithing 

Cleaver Of St. Felms

The Cleaver Of St. Felms
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Cleaver Of St. Felms – Image by eXputer

Onto the Anniversary edition weapon for Skyrim is the Clever of St. Felms. It is an incredibly powerful Axe that is ranked 2nd on the tier list of the best one-handed Axe weapons in Skyrim on Reddit. It is actually one of the few weapons that have pretty balanced statistics. The axe has better base damage than most of the famous Axes like Daedric and Ebony. The axe is also unique in the way that it has different attributes than most axes.

ClassOne-Handed, War Axe
Upgrade MaterialDwarven Metal Ingot
Base Damage14
Base Value2508
Additional EffectsBurn the target for 30 points, targets on fire take extra damage.

Absorb 25 points of Magicka.

PerkDwarven Smithing


The rare kind of weapon is the Maces, as they are very few in quantity in the game. Maces are basically huge, lengthened handles with a different head each time. The head can be a spiked-up one or just a dulled one with great width. These extreme heads of theirs make them slower in comparison to other forms of weapons. But they do have the most base damage as compared to each type of weapon in the game. 

Lunar Iron Mace

The Lunar Iron Mace
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Lunar Iron Mace – Image Credit Copyright: eXputer

It is pretty much an excellent weapon of choice with its superior power over bigger enemies. The category of Lunar weapons is pretty unfamiliar to many players of the game. Dragonbone Skyforge Steel isn’t the only amazing material in the game. The weapons are not only visually stunning but have practicality in the overall base strength. When you have monsters that lack speed but have insane monster-like strength, Lunar Iron Mace can sure come in handy.

ClassOne-Handed, Mace
Upgrade MaterialIron Ingot 
Base Damage9
Base Value168
Additional EffectsBurns the target for 20 points, when the moons are out


The Horksbane Axe
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Horksbane – Screenshot Captured by eXputer

It is an extremely different kind of weapon because of its unique powers at hand. Most of the weapon’s abilities are determined by their enchantments. The Horksbane has a sort of enchantment that is used against the Horkers found in the game. Most of the lure surrounding this weapon is very interesting since the weapon was made out of hatred for the Horkers. It isn’t per se a weapon of mass destruction, but it can sure help when dealing with Horkers.

ClassOne-Handed, Mace
Upgrade MaterialSteel Ingot 
Base Damage10
Base Value250
Additional EffectsEffective against horkers
PerkSteel Smithing 

Lunar Steel Mace 

The Lunar Steel Mace
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Lunar Steel Mace – [Image credit: eXputer]
Yet again a lunar weapon that has the potential to stand tall against greater opponents. Dragons can be easily defeated through the raw power of the Lunar weapon. The material steel is more durable than iron mace. The iron mace itself is a very great weapon in itself, but the steel one is a much stronger adaptation. You can easily find the weapon in the same area as you found the iron mace, but the timing of that has to be great as well.

ClassOne-Handed, Mace
Upgrade MaterialSteel Ingot 
Base Damage10
Base Value198
Additional EffectsBurn the target for 10-20 points, while the moons are out
PerkSteel Smithing 

Mace Of Molag Bal 

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

Now onto the best one-handed mace weapon that you can build, The Mace Of Molag Bal. A poll on Reddit had the agreement of most users that the Mace is the best one-handed weapon mace in Skyrim. It is another one of the special Daedric artifacts in the game that has the best potential in being your main goto weapon. When you look at the Mace itself, you know it is an extremely bad bleep weapon.

ClassOne-Handed, Mace
Upgrade MaterialEbony Ingot
Base Damage16
Base Value1257
Additional EffectsDeals 25 damage to Stamina and Magicka.

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

PerkSteel Smithing 

Final Words 

These are all the weapons best suited to make a double combo out of. You can even keep a shield by your side at all times or double the damage caused by the weapons. If you still prefer a bow over single-handed weapons, check out our guide on how to use the bound bow. If you get confused about the various Alchemy Recipes like Fortify Enchanting, we have got you covered. 

Also, make sure to check out our detailed guides over the major quests early in the game, like Blood On The Ice and In My Time Of Need

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Hammad Ijaz

Hammad Ijaz is a Guides Writer on eXputer who is into all sorts of gaming genres. He has this pure passion for enjoying games to the fullest and then reflecting that passion back into his writing. Along with a gaming experience of 10+ years, he has many years of writing experience as well. Hammad further solidifies his status as a true gamer by showcasing 200+ 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: Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism || Published 150+ Guides 

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