Ultimate Guide To Best Bows In Skyrim [Top 22]

After acquiring these bows, you won't bow down to any enemy in Skyrim!

Archery is one of the most fun playstyles in Skyrim. The massive, beloved RPG is filled to the brim with many unique and strong bows. My guide will tell you all about where the best bows in Skyrim are, how to acquire them, and what led me to pick them for my list.

Key Takeaways
  • Players can use various weapons and adapt to different playstyles, and archery is one of them.
  • Skyrim features 31 bows in total, offering a variety for players.
  • Like every other play style, the player will need strong bows and gear to be a great & and deadly archer.
  • Strong bows are acquired through looting or quest completion, enhancing gameplay versatility.
  • Notable bows include the Forsworn Bow, Drainspell Bow, and Auriel’s Bow, reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda.
  • While archery excels in ranged combat, it may leave players vulnerable in close-quarters engagements, necessitating strategic positioning and reliance on companions.
  • Author’s Note: With more than dozens of hours of experience in Skyrim, I feel more than obliged to provide you with hands-on experience on the topic below.

Here is a brief look at the comparison between the Bows in Skyrim:

No.BowsBest ForBase DamageWeightBase Value (Gold)SpeedUpgradePerk
22Dravin’s BowThe Bow With Early-Game Viability.7.07.050.00.937Leather StripsSteel
21Angi’s BowThe Bow With Unique Qualities.7.07.050.00.937Steel IngotSteel
20Bow Of The HuntThe Best Hunting Bow.10.07.0434.00.937Steel IngotSteel
19Falmer BowThe Best Lightweight Bow.12.015.0135.00.75Chaurus ChitinNone
18Forsworn BowThe Bow With Ruthless Appearance.12.011.0145.00.875Steel IngotSteel
17Zephyr BowThe Best Firing-Rate Bow.12.010.0670.01.0Dwarven Metal IngotDwarven
16Elven BowThe Bow With Versatile Combination.13.012.0470.00.687Refined MoonstoneElven
15Nordic BowThe Second Best Early-Game Bow.13.011.0580.00.6875Quicksilver IngotAdvanced
14Firiniel’s EndThe Best Stylish Bow.13.012.0785.00.687Refined MoonstoneElven
13Gauldur BlackbowThe Bow With Magicka Absorption Effect.14.018.0530.00.875Steel IngotDwarven
12Drainspell BowThe Coolest Bow in Skyrim.14.06.0458.00.875N/ANone
11Falmer Supple BowBest Early-Game Level Bow.12.015.0135.00.75Chaurus ChitinNone
10Glass Bow Of The Stag PrinceSecond Best Mid-Game Level Bow.16.014.0375.00.625Refined MalachiteGlass
9Ebony BowThe Best Mid-Game Level Bow.17.016.01440.00.562Ebony IngotEbony
8Stalhrim BowThe Best Exclusive DLC Bow.17.015.01800.00.5625StalhrimEbon
7Bow Of ShadowsThe Best Long-Range Bow.19.018.02500.00.937Ebony ingotN/A
6Daedric BowThe Best Looking Bow.19.018.02500.00.5Ebony IngotDaedric
5Dragonborne BowThe Bow with Steller Damage.20.020.02725.00.75Dragon BoneDragon
4Nightingale BowThe Best Frost And Shock Damage Combination Bow.19.018.03405.00.5Ebony IngotNone
3Karliah’s BowThe Best Bow For Console Commands.25.09.05.00.625N/ANone
2Auriel’s BowThe Bow with Remarkable Effects.13.011.01000.01.0Refined MoonstoneElven
1Dwarven Blackbow Of FateThe Best Overall Bow.13.010.01446.00.75Ebony IngotDwarven

22. Dravin’s Bow

The Bow With Early-Game Viability.
where to find Dravin's bow complete guide
The appearance of Dravin’s bow | Screenshot from eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: While it has a relatively low base damage of 7, it serves as a decent starting weapon, particularly for players in the early stages of the game.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
7 7 50 0.937 Leather Strips Steel

To start it off, we have Dravin’s Bow. It is a regular bow with low damage of 7, but it is certainly one of the best starting weapons. While the bow is a unique weapon, it physically looks like a clone of a Hunting bow.

Moreover, It is an okay weapon that has a nice draw rate, but the main reason it secured itself a spot on my best bows in the Skyrim guide is because of how easy it is to obtain.

You don’t even have to start the “Bow to the Master” quest. You can get it without ever interacting with Dravin. Make your way to the Ratway Vaults as you usually do during the quest and get it from the same spot it is at during the quest. 

Stats

  • Damage: 7
  • Special Effects: None.
  • Selling Value: 50 Coins.
  • How To Get: Obtained during the quest “Bow to the Master.”
  • Easily obtainable early in the game.
  • Offers a good draw rate for a starting weapon.
  • Lacks additional special effects.
  • Base damage is relatively low.

21. Angi’s Bow

The Bow With Unique Qualities.
how to complete angi's challenges and quest to get her bow guide
The bow rewarded to the player by Angi | Captured by eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: It can be upgraded using a Steel Ingot, a material that is commonly found.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
7 7 50 0.937 Steel Ingot Steel

Visually it looks exactly like Dravin’s bow and has the same stats as well. It is rewarded to the player after doing a quest that is about archery and is a very fun one.

Overall, I think Angi’s bow is a better choice as it is a reward you earn for showing off your archer skills. Out of all the best bows in Skyrim, you only get this one for showing your skills off.

Stats

  • Damage: 7
  • Special Effects: None.
  • Selling Value: 50 Coins.
  • How To Get: Do Angi’s training in the quest “Composure, Speed, & Precision.”
  • Acquired through an enjoyable quest.
  • Visual and stat similarities to Darwin’s bow.
  • Lacks unique visual elements.
  • Doesn’t come with additional effects.

20. Bow Of The Hunt

The Best Hunting Bow.
bow of the hunt animals damging stats
The best bow for hunters | Image provided by eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: Tailored for animal hunting, dealing extra damage to wildlife.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
10 7 434 0.937 Steel Ingot Steel

Bow of the Hunt is made especially for the players who love hunting animals in Skyrim. It has decent damage of 10, but it deals 20 points of extra damage to animals. Swapping to this during the beginning of the game to take care of the wildlife is a very viable strategy.

In addition, the appearance of the bow is nothing special, even though it is an entirely unique weapon in every other way. Another noteworthy thing regarding the appearance is that it doesn’t glow even when the player applies enchantments to it. 

Stats

  • Damage: 10
  • Special Effects: 20 extra damage to animals. 
  • Selling Value: 434 Coins.
  • How To Get: Get it from an altar on the rear side of the cave at “Clearspring Tarn.”
  • Useful for early-game wildlife hunting.
  • Bonus damage to animals.
  • No glow with enchantments.
  • Lacks visually appealing features.

19. Falmer Bow

The Best Lightweight Bow.
Falmer bow vs Falmer Supple bow
Both Falmer bows share the same appearance | Image by eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: Given its base damage and accessibility, it can be effective against early-game enemies, providing players with a reliable ranged weapon for encounters with various foes.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
12 15 135 0.75 Chaurus Chitin None

The Falmer bow is the standard version of the Falmer Supple bow, which you will read about later on in my guide. With a base damage of 12 and easy accessibility, it is an excellent weapon you can come across in the early areas of Skyrim. 

Both variants of the Falmer bow share the exact same appearance, but the Supple one is simply an upgraded version of the regular one. Even though the Supple variant is better, the regular Falmer bow can wreak some havoc too.

Stats

  • Damage: 12
  • Special Effects: None.
  • Selling Value: 135 Coins.
  • How To Get: Get it from the corpses of Falmer’s enemies.
  • Offers a solid base damage.
  • Easily obtainable in the early areas of Skyrim.
  • Lacks additional special effects.
  • Limited upgrade options.

18. Forsworn Bow

The Bow With Ruthless Appearance.
forsworn bow wallpaper
The deadly Forsworn bow | Screenshot grab eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: With a base damage of 12, it can be highly effective in the early sections of Skyrim.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
12 11 145 0.875 Steel Ingot Steel

The brutal design of the Forsworn bow perfectly depicts how you will be mercilessly killing your foes with it. It is a very popular preference among players who want their Skyrim archer to look ruthless.

The 12 base damage can make plenty of early sections of Skyrim a cakewalk if you aim your shots right. Getting it is also reasonably easy. Just make your way to a Forsworn camp, and you will eventually run across it as they are present in high quantity. 

Stats

  • Damage: 12
  • Special Effects: None
  • Selling Value: 145 Coins. 
  • How To Get: Get it from the “Forsworn” people.
  • Visually striking for a ruthless appearance.
  • Easily obtainable in Forsworn camps.
  • Lacks unique special effects.
  • Less appealing design.

17. Zephyr Bow

The Best Firing-Rate Bow.
zephyr bow how to get from Katria
Katria’s Zephy bow | Screenshot by us at eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: A unique and effective bow with a faster firing rate.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
12 10 670 1.0 Dwarven Metal Ingot Dwarven

“Lost to the Ages” is a very intriguing quest, especially if you are roleplaying as an archer. Katria is a ghost who guides the player during the quest, and during it, she will show you the place where she met her end. The player can then obtain her signature weapon, the Zephyr bow, from there.

The 30 percent faster firing rate might not seem like much at first, but I assure you that it is a game changer, especially in the early to mid-game. 12 base damage is appreciable, and it becomes super deadly when you are constantly launching arrows. It is a very good bow that you should get if you can.

Acquiring the Zephyr bow is just another good reason to experience this tragic quest where a ghost interacts with the player. It is among my favorite bows in my ‘Best Bows in Skyrim’ guide.

Stats

  • Damage: 12
  • Special Effects: 30 percent faster firing rate than a regular bow.
  • Selling Value: 670 Coins.
  • How To Get: Obtained from Katria’s corpse during the “Lost to the Ages” quest
  • Faster firing rate for increased combat effectiveness.
  • Decent base damage makes it a formidable weapon.
  • Limited availability, tied to a specific quest.
  • Relatively low selling value.

16. Elven Bow

The Bow With Versatile Combination.
the best bow for elves
The Elven bow | Captured by eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: This bow becomes prevalent in the game world after reaching the required level.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
13 12 470 0.687 Refined Moonstone Elven

Next up is the Elven bow. I consider it to be among some of the very best-looking weaponry in the game. It has a really appealing design which would go perfectly well with an elven protagonist. Getting it is simple but will require patience, as it only appears in the game after the player passes level 19.

Once you are strong enough, it will be hard to miss as it is available almost everywhere. Even regular enemies start carrying it, and it can be bought from various merchants

Stats

  • Damage: 13
  • Special Effects: None.
  • Selling Value: 470 Coins.
  • How To Get: Can be bought from merchants or found in loot after reaching level 20.
  • Visually appealing design.
  • Widely available after reaching level 20.
  • No special effects.

15. Nordic Bow

The Second Best Early-Game Bow.
the nordic bow guide where to get
The standard Nordic bow in Skyrim | Screenshot from us at eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: It has impressive base damage as an early-game bow.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
13 11 580 0.6875 Quicksilver Ingot Advanced

Up next, I have the Nordic bow. It is a Dragonborn DLC exclusive bow that the players can get, and it is among some of the best early-game bows. Just like most common bows in the game, the Nordic bow can be acquired in a number of easy ways. 

Furthermore, you can randomly get it from chests, and the chance for that to happen is high. Alternatively, the player can choose to craft the bow. It is an easy-to-craft item as it only requires 3 Steel Ingots and 1 Quicksilver Ingot.

The most common place to get the Nordic bow is Skaal Village. You can even steal the bow from here if you want it as soon as possible. There is nothing else to say about it. It is a decent choice at the beginning of the game, and you should consider using it if you come across it.

Stats

  • Damage: 13
  • Special Effects: None.
  • Selling Value: 580 Coins.
  • How To Get: Can be crafted or found randomly in chests.
  • Excellent early-game bow, easily accessible.
  • Obtainable through crafting or looting.
  • Lacks special effects.
  • Exclusive to Dragonborn DLC.

14. Firiniel’s End

The Best Stylish Bow.
firiniel's bow guide where to get and how to use
Firiniel’s End | Image provided by eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: It has a better frost damage effect.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
13 12 785 0.687 Refined Moonstone Elven

What I have here is one of the most stylish and effective bows in the early game of Skyrim. Most players disregard it and use something else because they don’t know about the full potential of Firiniel’s End. The low base damage of 13 is the only thing that stands out as a high negative, but it makes up for it in other aspects.

Moreover, Firiniel’s End deals 20 Frost damage. Now, Skyrim veterans know that Frost is a highly significant special effect as it decreases the enemy’s stamina alongside the heath. The best part is that it also slows down enemies due to its freezing nature, which can help an archer land shots more accurately. 

Getting the bow is also easy for the most part. You can get it from the balcony, which faces the main yard in the “Bound Until Death” quest. You can also get some Elven arrows lying beside it, and if you so wish, you can use the bow to complete the quest. 

Stats

  • Damage: 13
  • Special Effects: Deals 20 Frost damage.
  • Selling Value: 662 Coins.
  • How To Get: Can be acquired from the “Bound Until Death” quest.
  • Stylish and effective early-game bow.
  • Unique Frost damage effect for strategic advantages.
  • Low base damage.
  • Acquisition tied to a specific quest.

13. Gauldur Blackbow

The Bow With Magicka Absorption Effect.
gaulder blackbow recommended level and guide
The Gaulder Blackbow | Image captured by eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: The bow’s effectiveness increases with the player’s level, providing a scaling benefit that makes it more powerful as the character progresses.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
14 18 530 0.875 Steel Ingot Dwarven

The Gauldur Blackbow is a level-dependent drop. What that means is that the level of the bow will depend on the level that the player had when they completed the quest. You can choose to do the quest at your own leisure.

The main critical difference between all the variants of the Gaulder Blackbow is how much Magicka the bow can absorb. The very best version of the bow drops if the player is at least level 36, which absorbs 30 Magicka and has a base damage of 14

Players should also keep in mind that the lower-level variant of the bow also has a significantly low base damage of 8. Once again, the choice is yours, but we highly recommend that you at least get the level 19 variant so that the base damage doesn’t suck.

Stats

  • Damage: 14
  • Special Effects: It can absorb Magicka.
  • Selling Value: 972 Coins.
  • How To Get: Can be obtained during the quest titled “Forbidden Legend.” 
  • Level-dependent drop with variable benefits.
  • Unique ability to absorb Magicka.
  • Lower-level variants have low base damage.
  • Acquisition tied to a specific quest.

12. Drainspell Bow

The Coolest Bow in Skyrim.
One of the coolest looking bows in the game, the Drainspell bow | was Captured by us at eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: It has a captivating design and shows effectiveness against mages.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
14 6 458 0.875 N/A None

Next up, I have the Drainspell bow, which is perhaps the coolest-looking bow in the game. It truly feels like you are using a magical bow when using this thing. While it is a beautiful-looking weapon, what makes us place it so low on our best bows in the Skyrim guide is its low base damage of 14. 

Moreover, Similar to the Gauldur Blackbow, the Dranspell bow also absorbs Magicka, which can prove to be very deadly against mages. Both bows are very similar to each other, and while the higher-level variant of the Gaulder Blackbow is superior, I’ve placed the Drainspell bow higher due to its unique appearance. 

Stats

  • Damage: 14
  • Special Effects: Absorbs 15 Magicka.
  • Selling Value: 277 Coins.
  • How To Get: Can be obtained during the quest “The Staff of Magnus.”
  • Unique and cool appearance.
  • Absorbs Magicka, effective against mages.
  • Low base damage.
  • Limited effectiveness compared to higher-damage bows.

11. Falmer Supple Bow

Best Early-Game Level Bow.
falmer bow vs falmer supple bow guide
The Supple variant of the Falmer bow | Image from us
  • Why I Chose This: The upgraded material for the Falmer Supple Bow is Chaurus Chitin, which is reasonably common.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
12 15 135 0.75 Chaurus Chitin None

The regular variant of the Falmer bow is mediocre due to its low damage, but the Supple variant ups the base damage a lot and sets it at 15. It does not have any special status effect, and that is why most players simply never use it when they have better bows. 

The main reason why the Falmer Supple bow made my list is how easily it can be acquired. Also, while it might not seem like much but the base damage of 15, with a well-placed shot, can be devastating to most early-game enemies. 

Stats

  • Damage: 15
  • Special Effects: None.
  • Selling Value: 410 Coins.
  • How To Get: The best way to obtain it is by looting Falmer Shadowmasters or Falmer Gloomlurkers.
  • Easily acquired for early-game use.
  • Decent base damage.
  • Lacks special effects.
  • Becomes less effective in later stages of the game.

10. Glass Bow Of The Stag Prince

Second Best Mid-Game Level Bow.
glass prince bow archer
The Glass Bow of Stag Prince | Image from eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: It is a unique Dragonborn DLC bow and has a special blessing effect.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
16 14 375 0.625 Refined Malachite Glass

Next up is another Dragonborn DLC-exclusive weapon. As the name suggests, it is a variant of the regular Glass bow, one of the best mid-game bows in Skyrim. I recommend trying out the Glass Bow of the Stag Prince, as it is a one-of-a-kind unique bow.

While the base damage of 16 isn’t anything special, what makes the bow shine is its special effect. For every 20 animals you kill, you will receive a Blessing from the Stag Prince. You can get a maximum of 4 blessings for killing 80 animals in total.

With every blessing that the player gets, their health and stamina increase by 5. It is a great bow that you should try out and have fun with in your free time, even if you have stronger weapons.

Stats

  • Damage: 16
  • Special Effects: Blessing of the Stag Prince received by killing animals.
  • Selling Value: 375 Coins.
  • How To Get: Can be bought from Falas Selvayn in Ramshackle Trading Post.
  • Unique with Blessing of the Stag Prince effect.
  • Mid-game potency with a base damage
  • Base damage isn’t exceptionally high.
  • Exclusive to Dragonborn DLC.

9. Ebony Bow

The Best Mid-Game Level Bow.
ebony bow where to find
The Ebony Bow | Screenshot provided by eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: Better base damage and a powerful mid-game weapon.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
17 16 1440 0.562 Ebony Ingot Ebony

Ebony Bow is among the best standard bows in the game, if not the very best. It has an excellent base damage of 17 and a good draw speed and fire rate.

It is a bow you should consider using after you have reached high mid-game levels, as it can start appearing in chests and random loot after the player has reached level 36 or above. If you are already finding other ebony loot, then you will surely come across the bow soon.

Furthermore, crafting it is also simple and easy as far as strong weapons are concerned. All the player needs are 3 Ebony Ingots alongside the Ebony Smithing perk. In my opinion, you shouldn’t craft the bow and just wait until you find it in random loot, as there are other great bows you can utilize until then. 

Stats

  • Damage: 17
  • Special Effects: None.
  • Selling Value: 1440 Coins.
  • How To Get: Can be looted from chests. 
  • Excellent base damage.
  • Effective draw speed and fire rate.
  • Availability increases later in mid-game.
  • Crafting not be necessary.

8. Stalhrim Bow

The Best Exclusive DLC Bow.
Stalhrim bow guide complete how to get
The visual appearance of the Stalhrim bow | Image from us at eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: It has a unique ability that boosts Frost enchantments by 25 percent, setting it apart.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
17 15 1800 0.5625 Stalhrim Ebon

Here I have, which is yet another bow that is exclusive to the Dragonborn DLC. Its base damage is just as much as Ebony Bow’s, as it sits on 17. What made us place it higher is its special effect, which will turn it into a significantly better version of Firiniel’s End. 

Acquiring it is also simple and convenient. Just make your way to the Skall Village and talk to Glover Mallory. Here you can get the Stalhrim bow, and in my opinion, it is a great choice as the more serious Frost damage will be deadly to a lot of your foes.

Stats

  • Damage: 17
  • Special Effects: Frost enchantments receive a 25 percent boost in power.
  • Selling Value: 1800 Coins.
  • How To Get: Get it from Glover Mallory in Skall Village.
  • Enhanced Frost damage effect.
  • Good base damage.
  • Limited availability as a DLC exclusive.
  • Crafting needed for maximum potential.

7. Bow Of Shadows

The Best Long-Range Bow.
new Skyrim anniversary edition weapon
The Bow of Shadows
  • Why I Chose This: The 30-second invisibility effect offers a significant advantage, allowing you to stay hidden while picking off enemies from a safe distance.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
19 18 2500 0.937 Ebony ingot N/A

What I have here is a beast of a weapon. It is part of the recently added content bundled with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition. You can get it for the other version, but you will have to pay for it through the Creation Club. A lot of players consider Bow of Shadows the very best bow in the game.

In addition, getting it is also very straightforward, as the quest rewards the player with the bow without any hassle. The bow is originally from The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. So veteran fans of the franchise are delighted to have it back and be so valuable and deadly.

The Bow of Shadows, with a base damage of 19, isn’t in my top 3 due to limited accessibility. Its standout feature is the ability to turn the user invisible, a valuable skill for archers to maintain distance and eliminate enemies consecutively. Despite a slower draw time, the player remains mostly untouchable by enemies.

Stats

  • Damage: 19 
  • Special Effects: Whenever the player unholsters the bow, they turn invisible for 30 seconds. Also, the shooting speed of arrows is 20 percent faster.
  • Selling Value: None.
  • How To Get: Obtained after the completion of the quest “In The Shadows.”
  • High base damage.
  • Unique invisibility effect.
  • Inaccessible for many players.
  • Slightly slow draw time.

6. Daedric Bow

The Best Looking Bow.
Daedric bow wallpaper
The stellar-looking Deadric bow | Image from eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: Has an impressive appearance and formidable base damage.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
19 18 2500 0.50 Ebony Ingot Daedric

One of my personal favorites is the Daedric bow. Wielding the beautiful weapon makes your character look like an ultimate badass master archer. It has excellent damage of 19, which can shred most enemies with a headshot. It is an early end-game weapon. What makes it even better is that it can be acquired easily.

Furthermore, similar to the ebony bow, which was mentioned early in our best bows in Skyrim guide, the Daedric Bow can randomly drop from loot when the player reaches a certain level. This time around, that level is 46.

It is a pretty common drop at that point, but if luck isn’t on your side, you can buy the bow instead. It can be bought from various merchants, but the most convenient and common one is Niranye at the Thieve’s Guild. 

Stats

  • Damage: 19
  • Special Effects: None
  • Selling Value: 2500 Coins.
  • How To Get: Random loot or can be bought from merchants like Niranye or Syndus.
  • Stellar appearance, considered one of the best-looking bows.
  • Excellent damage for early end-game use.
  • No special effects.
  • Need to purchase from merchants.

5. Dragonborne Bow

The Bow with Stellar Damage.
dragonborne weapons guide
The Dragonborne bow | Captured by eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: Possesses a high Smithing skill and the Dragon Armor perk.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
20 20 2725 0.75 Dragon Bone Dragon

Dragonborne weapons are some of the best in Skyrim, and the bow isn’t an exception. The main reason why one wouldn’t want the Dragonborne bow in their inventory is that it weighs a lot. It is a visually good-looking bow, though, and has a stellar damage of 20

Crafting one can be quite a hassle. Acquiring the bow is tedious. That’s why a lot of players just go with the other better options, which you can find out about as you continue reading my best bows in the Skyrim guide. To craft the Dragonborne bow, you will need an insanely high Smithing level which is 100, alongside the Dragon Armor perk.

In my opinion, the best and least tedious way to get the bow is if you loot it. Venture to Soul Cairn, and here you can fight a Keeper enemy and loot the bow from its body. 

Stats

  • Damage: 20
  • Special Effects: None.
  • Selling Value: 2725 Coins.
  • How To Get: The best way to get it is to craft it, or it can be looted.
  • Striking appearance with stellar damage.
  • One of the best Dragonborn weapons.
  • Crafting requires high Smithing level and perks.
  • Heavyweight makes usage difficult.

4. Nightingale Bow

The Best Frost And Shock Damage Combination Bow.
nightingale bow and armor guide how to get
Nightingale bow | Image by us
  • Why I Chose This: A viable option with a blend of stealth, versatility, and elemental damage.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
19 18 3405 0.50 Ebony Ingot None

Akin to the Gaulder Blackbow, you can get different variants of the Nightingale bow, which deal different amounts of damage depending on the player level and the bow variant they got. To get the best possible version that has the maximum power, do the Thieves Guild questline when you are at level 46 or beyond.

Moreover, it’s a brilliant weapon that will make sure that the enemies either stay dead or stay slow. The 30 Frost damage is insanely powerful, and it mixes that up with the severe 15 Shock damage. It is an excellent choice and is the very best bow in the eyes of many players. 

Avoid the Thieves Guild quest Blindsighted until level 46 to get the best version of the bow. A lower-level version is strong but becomes worthless near the end game due to scaling, so keep this in mind.

Stats

  • Damage: 19
  • Special Effects: Deals 30 Frost & 15 Shock damage.
  • Selling Value: 2500 Coins.
  • How To Get: Complete the “Thieves Guild” quest “Blindsighted” after reaching level 46.
  • Powerful Frost and Shock damage.
  • Stylish Nightingale bow design.
  • Damage varies with player level.

3. Karliah’s Bow

The Best Bow For Console Commands.
The strongest bow in the game is Karliah’s bow | Screenshot from eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: It is the strongest bow in the game when using console commands.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
25 9 5 0.625 N/A None

Karliah’s bow is the best and strongest in the game, dealing a powerful 25 damage to enemies. However, you can only get it using console commands, making it unavailable for regular play. This is why it’s not ranked number 1 in my guide. If you’re okay with using console commands, it’s a straightforward choice to get Karliah’s Bow, and you can obtain it during the end-game sections of Skyrim.

Furthermore, to get it, open up the console by using the “`” key. Next, write “player.additem 000DEED8 1” and then press enter. Keep in mind that you need to write it without quotes. If done correctly, the player will now have Karliah’s bow in their inventory.

If, for some reason, the bow isn’t showing up in your inventory, then use the “player.placeatme 000DEED8 1” console command. Doing so will spawn the bow right in front of your character, and then you can go ahead and pick it up.

Stats

  • Damage: 25
  • Special Effects: None.
  • Selling Value: 5 Coins. (don’t sell it)
  • How To Get: You can’t get it without console commands.
  • Highest base damage in the game.
  • Requires console commands for acquisition.
  • Inaccessible through regular gameplay.
  • Not appeal to players avoiding console commands.

2. Auriel’s Bow

The Bow with Remarkable Effects.
Auriel;s Bow guide complete exputer
The excellent Auriel’s bow | Image provided by eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: Has better sun damage and offers a stunning appearance.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
13 11 1000 1.0 Refined Moonstone Elven

Auriel’s bow is potentially another contender for the best bow in Skyrim. It is an excellent weapon that shines through thanks to its remarkable effects. Dealing 10 Sun damage to enemies is very rewarding, and it does it in extreme amounts to the undead. 

The coolest thing about the bow is how it interacts with the sun depending on what kind of arrows the player shoots at it during the day. You don’t need strong companions when the sun is on your side. Auriel’s bow makes the player feel like a badass superhero. 

Best of all, it is a visually stellar-looking bow as well. There is literally no reason why you shouldn’t use it. It is one of my personal favorite bows in gaming.

Stats

  • Damage: 13
  • Special Effects: Deals 20 Sun damage in a single hit, and the Undead enemies get hit for triple times that.
  • Selling Value: 1000 Coins.
  • How To Get: Complete the quest called “Touching The Sky.”
  • Unique Sun damage effect.
  • Visually impressive design.
  • Base damage is comparatively lower.
  • Requires completing the quest “Touching The Sky.

1. Dwarven Blackbow Of Fate

The Best Overall Bow.
Dwarven Black Bow of Fate complete guide online
The Dwarven Blackbow of Fate | Image by eXputer
  • Why I Chose This: the special effect is unparalleled and it is exceptionally powerful.
Base Damage Weight Base Value (Gold) Speed Upgrade Perk
13 10 1446 0.750 Ebony Ingot Dwarven

Lastly, at number 1, I have the Dwarven Blackbow of Fate, which is, in my opinion, the most overpowered bow in the game. Its damage isn’t anything special. It is pretty pathetic when compared to other bows of its caliber, but the special status effect that it has makes it extremely strong.

The draw speed is fast, and you can shoot multiple arrows at an enemy, which can delete so many of their attributes quickly. It feels unfair to use the bow at times; It makes players feel bad for the enemies with how effectively and easily it demolishes them. 

Stats

  • Damage: 13
  • Special Effects: 50 percent chance to absorb 25 of Health, Stamina, or Magicka with each shot.
  • Selling Value: 1446 Coin.
  • How To Get: This can be found in Kagrumez.
  • Overpowered with a unique special effect.
  • Fast draw speed for rapid shots.
  • Base damage is not exceptional.
  • Found in Kagrumez, requiring exploration.

Alternative Picks 

Here are some other Bows in Skyrim that you can consider using during gameplay.

  • Ancient Nord Bow: A good option as it deals the same damage as steel weapons and can be enchanted with any effect.
  • Froki’s Bow: Enchanted with 15 points of Stamina Damage but doesn’t have much use.

Wrapping Up

The best bows have always been an active topic discussed in the Skyrim subreddit because of how fun and crazy they are. I hope you had fun reading through my guide. I made sure to provide you with all the necessary details. 

Even after more than a decade since its release, Skyrim remains one of the greatest games of all time. With a 96 Metacritic score and over 200 Game of the Year awards to its name, there is no arguing that. 

There is just so much to do in the game. You can make some of the best Skyrim builds and use them alongside some of the best Skyrim mods and best Skyrim light armor. If you want more, consider checking out my guide on how to cure vampirism in Skyrim or my 30 potential Skyrim wives’ guide.

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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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