Skyrim: 24 Best Armor Sets [Expert’s Take]

Wear the best armor sets in Skyrim & stylize your character for better or for worse!

Choosing the proper armor to wear in Skyrim can heavily impact your playstyle in the game. The type of armor sets in this game is pretty straightforward and includes Light and Heavy armor sets. Both of these armor sets have pros and cons, but we will entail the best ones in both categories.

Skyrim features approximately 38 different armor sets, and we have listed the 24 best ones in the game, which include 12 each for light and heavy armor sets.

Key Takeaways
  • Skyrim has light and heavy armor sets.
    1. Light armor suits stealth and conserves stamina; top sets include Dragonscale, Stalhrim Light, and Glass Armor.
    2. Heavy armor focuses on tanking with higher stamina consumption; optimal sets are Daedric, Dragonplate, and Stalhrim.
  • Some light sets offer poison resistance (Ancient Shrouded) or enhance pickpocketing (Blackguard).
  • Early-game light options: Elven and Imperial set.
  • Early heavy options: Steel, Bonemold, Dwarven set.
  • Crafting armor requires meeting specific requirements and unlocking smithing perks.
  • A higher Smithing Skill Level enhances crafted armor quality.
  • Certain armor sets are unlocked through side quests or guild memberships.

Best Light Armor Sets 

Stats for Light armor sets in Skyrim: 

Armor SetsProtectionEncumbranceUpgrade Material
Dragonscale Armor Set111.026.0Dragon Scales
Chitin Armor Set85.016.0Chitin Plate
Glass Armor Set103.019.0Refined Malachite
Stalhrim Light Armor Set108.023.0Stalhrim
Nightingale Armor Set69.018.0Void Salts
Guild Master’s Armor Set76.031.0Leather
Blackguard’s Armor Set72.013.0Leather
Ancient Shrouded Armor Set72.07.5Leather
Elven Light Armor Set79.011.0Refined Moonstone
Imperial Light Armor Set65.015.0Leather
Leather Armor Set52.012.0Leather
Hide Armor Set55.013.0Leather
Daedric Armor Set144.096.0Ebony Ingot
Stalhrim Heavy Armor Set102.059.0Stalhrim
Dragonplate Armor Set136.079.0Dragon Bone
Ebony Armor Set128.076.0Ebony Ingot
Orcish Armor Set120.071.0Orichalcum Ingot
Nordic Carved Armor Set119.566.0Quicksilver Ingot
Falmer Hardened Armor Set78.065.0Chaurus Chitin
Ahzidal’s Armor Set87.059.0Steel Ingot
Steel Plate Armor Set87.059.0Corundum Ingot
Bonemold Armor Set94.057.0Bone Meal
Dwarven Armor Set104.087.0Dwarven Metal Ingot
Steel Armor Set96.064.0Steel Ingot

Dragonscale Armor Set

skyrim best armor
The Dragonscale Armor Set (Image Captured by Us)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Dragonscale Armor 41 10
Dragonscale Boots 12 3
Dragonscale Gauntlets  12 3
Dragonscale Helmet  17 4
Dragonscale Shield 29 6

The Dragonscale Armor Set is the optimal light armor in the game, attainable at Level 50 through random loot drops. However, crafting is only possible after reaching Level 100 in Smithing. To enhance efficiency, it’s advisable to craft the armor rather than relying on loot, even with the Dragon Armor Perk active.

Crafting requires iron ingots, leather strips, and dragon scales. This set offers superior defense compared to other light armor and allows for effective stealth.

Chitin Armor Set

skyrim best armor
The Chitin Armor Set (Image Captured by eXputer)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Chitin Armor 30 4
Chitin Boots 8.5 1
Chitin Gauntlets  8.5 2
Chitin Helmet  13.5 1
Chitin Shield 24.5 8

The Chitin Armor Set is another great choice, but it can only be accessed if you own the Dragonborn DLC, as it is not available in the base game. As for the location of this armor, it can be found on the Island of Solstheim as random loot. However, you can also craft the Chitin Armor Set.

In order to craft the armor, make sure that your Smithing Level is at least 30 and that you have the Elven Smithing Perk. Once those requirements are met, you can craft the armor using iron Ingot, chitin Plate, and Netch Leather.

Glass Armor Set

item in game
The Glass Armor Set (Image by eXputer)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Glass Armor 38 7
Glass Boots 11 2
Glass Gauntlets  11 2
Glass Helmet  16 2
Glass Shield 27 6

The Glass Armor Set, attainable early in the game, offers high defense and stealth with lower stamina consumption, unlike the Dragonscale Armor Set. Purchase it from blacksmiths or find it as random loot around Level 36.

To craft the armor, ensure you a Smithing Level of 70 and the Glass Smithing Perk. Use refined moonstone, refined Malachite, leather, and leather strips. However, acquiring it through loot or purchase is more practical, offering defense comparable to the Dragonscale Armor Set.

Stalhrim Light Armor Set

item in game
The Stalhrim Light Armor Set (Screenshot Grab: eXputer)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Stalhrim Armor 39 7
Stalhrim Boots 11.5 2
StalhrimGauntlets  11.5 2
Stalhrim Helmet  16.5 2
Stalhrim Shield 29.5 10

Just like the Chitin Armor Set, you need to own the Dragonborn DLC in order to obtain the Stalhrim Light Armor Set. At Level 35, the Stalhrim Light Armor Set can be purchased from NPCs on the Island of Solstheim. It will also drop as random loot at that level additionally. 

Crafting this armor requires a Smithing Level of 80, and you should have the Ebony Smithing Perk. In addition to that, you should have also completed the A New Source Of Stalhrim quest that can be started in the Skaal Village. Stalhrim, leather strips, steel ingots, and quicksilver ingots are the materials that are required to craft this armor set.

Nightingale Armor Set

skyrim best armor
The Nightingale Armor Set (Image Credit Copyright: eXputer)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Nightingale Armor 34 12
Nightingale Boots 10 2
Nightingale Gauntlets  10 2
Nightingale Helmet  15 2

The Nightingale Armor Set is probably the most fashionable light armor set in the game and can easily get you through the mid-game. However, you’ll have to complete a quest in order to obtain the armor set. All of the pieces of the armor are obtained in the ‘Trinity Restored’ quest, which is a part of the Thieves Guild storyline.

Guild Master’s Armor Set

skyrim best armor
The Guild Master’s Armor Set (Image Captured by Us)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Guild Master’s Armor 38 10
Guild Master’s Boots 11 2
Guild Master’s Gauntlets  11 2
Guild Master’s Helmet  16 3

The Guild Master’s Armor Set is a much stronger version of the Nightingale Armor Set; however, less fashionable. It is also obtained by progressing through the Thieves Guild storyline. You additionally need to return the guild to its former glory in the game in order to obtain the armor set.

Blackguard’s Armor Set

item in the game
The Blackguard’s Armor Set (Image Captured by eXputer)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Blackguard’s Armor 33 7
Blackguard’s Boots 13 2
Blackguard’s Gauntlets  8 2
Blackguard’s Helmet  18 2

With a full Blackguard Armor Set, players get a base armor of 72, along with boosted player stats. The armor alone increases carrying capacity by 50.

Equipping boots and gloves boosts Pickpocketing and Lockpicking by 40 percent each. The Hood provides a 25% increase in prices. Obtain the set through the “Paid in Full” quest, a straightforward mission where players retrieve a stolen formula from Glover Mallory. After completion, Glover grants access to his basement, containing the full set and other valuable items for the taking.

Ancient Shrouded Armor Set

skyrim best armor
The Ancient Shrouded Armor Set (Image Captured by Us)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Ancient Shrouded Armor 33 5
Ancient Shrouded Boots 12 0.5
Ancient Shrouded Gauntlets  12 1
Ancient Shrouded Helmet  15 1

What we have next is an armor set with many useful buffs. These included a 100 percent resistance to poison alongside bows dealing 35 percent extra damage. It is practically a stealth armor that even muffles the player’s walking, making it an amazing choice for Archers.

In addition, the player can upgrade the armor on a workbench using leather pieces. However, keep in mind that the upgrading will halt once you reach “flawless” quality. To go beyond it, you will, of course, need to have a Smithing skill of over 100. To get yourself the armor, conveniently go and meet up with Olava in Whiterun. It can be picked from an assassin’s corpse in Hag’s End during the quest, “Locate the Assassins of Old.”

Elven Light Armor Set

skyrim best armor
The Elven Light Armor Set (Image Captured by eXputer)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Elven Armor 29 4
Elven Boots 8 1
Elven Gauntlets  8 1
Elven Helmet  13 1
Elven Shield 21 4

The Elven Light Armor Set is one of the best early-game light armor sets that you can use in the game. It can be easily obtained during the first few hours of Skyrim. The armor set also drops as random loot at Level 1, which is why it is very easy to obtain.

It is recommended to craft the armor once you reach Level 30 in Smithing. After reaching level 30 in smithing and having obtained the Elven Smithing Perk, you can craft the Elven Light Armor Set using iron ingots, leather strips, quicksilver ingots, and refined moonstones.

Imperial Light Armor Set

skyrim best armor
The Imperial Light Armor Set (Image by eXputer)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Imperial Armor 23 6
Imperial Boots 6 2
Imperial Gauntlets  6 1
Imperial Helmet  11 2
Imperial Shield 19 4

The Imperial Light Armor Set is another great choice for the early game, but it can only be accessed if you have a specific smithing perk unlocked. In order to craft the armor, all you need to do is have the Steel Smithing Perk unlocked in Skyrim. Other than that, the Imperial Light Armor Set can also be obtained from the dead bodies of Imperial Legion Soldiers during the Civil War quest.

Leather Armor Set

skyrim best armor
The Leather Armor Set (Screenshot Grab: eXputer)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Leather Armor 26 6
Leather Boots 7 2
Leather Gauntlets  7 2
Leather Helmet  12 2

Leather Armor Set is another top-tier armor set for the early game. The Leather Armor Set can be purchased from blacksmiths as well, and it can be obtained through random loot at the beginning of the game.

If you want to craft the armor, then make sure that you have leather strips and leather. You don’t need to have a specific smithing skill level or smithing perk in order to craft this armor set. That is why it is very easy to get your hands on it in the game.

Hide Armor Set

skyrim best armor
The Hide Armor Set (Screenshot Captured by eXputer)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Hide Armor 20 5
Hide Boots 5 1
Hide Gauntlets  5 1
Hide Helmet  10 2
Hide Shield 15 4

Hide Armor is similar to Leather Armor in being the most common light armor set to obtain at the beginning of the game. It is a great choice for your early-game battles until you can get your hands on better light armor sets. The Hide Armor Set can either be bought from blacksmiths and merchants or crafted using leather and leather strips. No smithing skill level or perk is required in order to craft this armor set. Lastly, you will also find Hide Armor as loot on most corpses early in the game.

Best Heavy Armor Sets

Heavy Armor is going to make the player a tank at the cost of stamina and stealth. Your movement speed will also be affected by wearing heavy armor in the game. However, if you want the best defense in the game, then this armor is for you.

Daedric Armor Set

skyrim best armor
The Daedric Armor Set (Screenshot Captured by eXputer)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Daedric Armor 49 50
Daedric Boots 18 10
Daedric Gauntlets  18 6
Daedric Helmet  23 15
Daedric Shield 36 15

Daedric Armor is one of the strongest heavy armor; plus, the armor itself looks really good and adds to fashion in the game. It drops as random loot in chests only if you’re above Level 49 in Skyrim. However, the Daedric Armor Set can also be bought from a Dremora Merchant in the game. 

In order to craft the armor set, you’ll need to make sure that your Smithing Level is 90 and that you have the Daedric Smithing perk. Lastly, you’ll need Dadrea hearts, ebony ingots, and leather strips to craft the Daedric Armor Set.

Stalhrim Heavy Armor Set

item in game
The Stalhrim Heavy Armor Set (Image Credit Copyright: eXputer)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Stalhrim Armor 46 38
Stalhrim Boots 17 7
Stalhrim Gauntlets  17 7
Stalhrim Helmet  22 7

This is the heavy armor counterpart of the Stalhrim Light Armor Set and can only be accessed if you have the Dragonborn DLC installed. It is another great heavy armor set and is available to purchase once you are at Level 35 in the game. You can purchase it from various NPCs on the Island of Solstheim, and it can additionally be found as random loot there.

Similar to its Light Armor Set counterpart, you’ll need a Smithing Level of 80 in addition to the Ebony Smithing Perk so that you can craft the Stalhrim Armor Set. Even the materials required to craft the armor are the same and include Stalhrim, leather strips, steel ingots, and quicksilver ingots. Also, make sure that you have completed the A New Source Of Stalhrim quest in Skaal Village to get the ability to craft this armor.

Dragonplate Armor Set

skyrim best armor
The Dragonplate Armor Set (Image credit: eXputer)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Dragonplate Armor 46 40
Dragonplate Boots 17 8
Dragonplate Gauntlets  17 8
Dragonplate Helmet  22 8
Dragonplate Shield 34 15

The Dragonplate Armor Set is pretty close to the Daedric Armor Set in providing one of the best defenses in the game. However, it has a lower weight than the Daedric Armor Set, which can have a significant impact on your overall build. Finding the Dragonplate Armor Set in random loot is tough, but you can get it as random loot at as low as Level 40.

A Smithing Skill Level of 100 is required to craft this armor set alongside the Dragon Armor Perk. Additionally, you’ll need dragon bones, dragon scales, and leather strips in order to craft the Dragonplate Armor Set. 

Ebony Armor Set

skyrim best armor
The Ebony Armor Set (Image Captured by Us)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Ebony Armor 43 38
Ebony Boots 16 7
Ebony Gauntlets  16 7
Ebony Helmet  21 10
Ebony Shield 32 14

Ebony Armor Set will serve you well if you’re not able to get your hands on the Daedric or Dragonplate Armor Set in the game. It is easier to acquire the Ebony Armor Set at as low as Level 32 when it can either be purchased or farmed through random loot. 

However, you’ll need a Smithing Level of 80 alongside the Ebony Smithing Perk in order to craft the Ebony Armor Set. Lastly, leather strips and ebony ingots are the only materials that you’ll need for crafting here.

Orcish Armor Set

item in game
The Orcish Armor Set (Image Captured by Us)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Orcish Armor 40 35
Orcish Boots 15 7
Orcish Gauntlets  15 7
Orcish Helmet  20 8
Orcish Shield 30 14

Orcish Armor Set is a strong heavy armor set that can be obtained quite early in the game. Additionally, the armor has that fashion component as well. It drops as random loot in chests only if you’re above Level 20 in Skyrim. However, the Orcish Armor Set can also be bought from blacksmiths in the game. 

In order to craft the armor set, you’ll need to make sure that your Smithing Level is 50 and that you have the Orcish Smithing perk. Lastly, you’ll need orichalcum ingots, iron ingots, and leather strips to craft the Daedric Armor Set.

Nordic Carved Armor Set

item in game
The Nordic Carved Armor Set (Image Captured by eXputer)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Nordic Carved Armor 43 37
Nordic Carved Boots 15 6
Nordic Carved Gauntlets  15 6
Nordic Carved Helmet  20 7
Nordic Carved Shield 26.5 10

If you want an armor set that is lighter than the Orcish Armor Set, then Nordic Armor should be your choice. However, you will be compromising a little on the defense side. Finding the Nordic Carved Armor Set in random loot is also easy, as you can get it at as low as Level 25.

A Smithing Skill Level of 50 is required to craft this armor set alongside the Advanced Armors perk. Additionally, you’ll need steel ingots, quicksilver ingots, ebony ingots, and leather strips in order to craft the Nordic Carved Armor Set. 

Falmer Hardened Armor Set

item in the game
The Falmer Hardened Armor Set (Image Captured by Us)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Falmer Hardened Armor 34 40
Falmer Hardened Boots 13 8
Falmer Hardened Gauntlets  13 7
Falmer Hardened Helmet  18 10

The Falmer Hardened Armor set feels like a clone of the Falmer Heavy Armor set as far as appearances go. Obtaining it is fairly simple as it can be acquired fairly easily during the early mid-game. Just like all the other Falmer equipment, it also drops by defeating various Falmer enemies.

Your best bet is going after Falmer Warmongers, as they are the ones who commonly drop the set. Thanks to the “Advanced Armors” perk, the players can receive double improvements whenever they upgrade the set on a workbench by using Chaurus chitin.

Ahzidal’s Armor Set

skyrim best armor
The Ahzidal’s Armor Set (Image Captured by eXputer)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Ahzidal’s Armor 40 38
Ahzidal’s Boots 14 9
Ahzidal’s Gauntlets  14 6
Ahzidal’s Helmet  19 6

Visually, Ahzidal’s armor set is similar to the Ancient Nord armor. Its stats, however, are totally different, and it can prove to be an excellent choice. Its overall armor protection is 87, and it weighs 59 points, which is fairly common for such armor sets.

Just like the Falmer Hardened Armor set, Ahzidal’s Armor benefits a lot from the “Advanced Armors” perk. Upgrading it is much more convenient as it only requires Steel Ingots. Overall, it is a very viable choice, even if its appearance is something you adore.

Steel Plate Armor Set

skyrim best armor
The Steel Plate Armor Set (Image by eXputer)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Steel Plate Armor 40 38
Steel Plate Boots 14 9
Steel Plate Gauntlets  14 6
Steel Plate Helmet  19 6

Obtain the Steel Plate Armor Set for effective early and mid-game protection. Acquire it as early as Level 18 through purchase or random loot. Craft it with a Smithing Level of 50 and the Advanced Armors Perk using leather strips, iron ingots, steel ingots, and corundum ingots. However, I would recommend switching to more powerful sets when you get the chance.

Bonemold Armor Set

item in game
The Bonemold Armor Set (Screenshot Grab: eXputer)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Bonemold Armor 32 34
Bonemold Boots 12 7
Bonemold Gauntlets  12 3.5
Bonemold Helmet  17 4.5
Bonemold Shield 21 8

Bonemold Armor Set is a strong and sturdy heavy armor set that can be easily crafted at a Smithing Skill Level of 15 while the Steel Smithing Perk is active in the game. You’ll need a bone meal, Netch leather, and iron ingots to craft the armor set additionally. Lastly, the Bonemold Armor Set can easily be obtained on the Island of Solstheim.

Dwarven Armor Set

item in game
The Dwarven Armor Set (Screenshot Captured by eXputer)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Dwarven Armor 34 45
Dwarven Boots 13 10
Dwarven Gauntlets  13 8
Dwarven Helmet  18 12
Dwarven Shield 26 12

The Dwarven Armor Set, a robust heavy armor, proves beneficial for early and mid-game stages. Obtainable as random loot from Level 12 onwards, it’s also purchasable from blacksmiths. Crafting requires a Smithing Skill Level of 30, the Dwarven Smithing Perk, and materials like iron ingots, steel ingots, dwarven metal ingots, and leather strips.

Steel Armor Set

item in game
The Steel Armor Set (Image Credit Copyright: eXputer)
Piece Protection Encumbrance
Steel Armor 31 35
Steel Boots 12 8
Steel Gauntlets  12 4
Steel Helmet  17 5
Steel Shield 24 12

Steel Armor Set is the perfect heavy armor set for your early game. You can obtain this armor set at Level 2, where it starts dropping as random loot or can be purchased from blacksmiths and merchants. You’ll need the Steel Smithing Perk to craft the Steel Armor Set. The materials required to craft the armor are leather strips, steel ingots, and iron ingots.

This concludes our guide on the Best Armor Sets in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. We entailed the best armor sets catering to both stealth and tank playstyles. We hope that the guide was helpful for you in choosing the best armor for your build in the game. Let us know what you think about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in the comments below!


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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.

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