7 best light and heavy armor sets in Skyrim, Daedric, Nightingale, Deathbrand & more

Sam Smith
skyrim best armor

Armor is an essential part of the build for most Dovakhiins, but what’s the best light and heavy armor in Skyrim? Here’s the best armor in Skyrim to give to your Dragonborn.

There are all sorts of garments to wear in Skyrim from clothing to light armor, to bulkier heavy armor. Most sets are plentiful and easy to find as you explore the northern province of Tamriel, but some are more elusive. As you level, more higher-end armor will start to spawn, but you’ll need to upgrade your blacksmithing skills for some of the best and most cool-looking gear.

You can usually enchant armor as well to improve its effectiveness, where some gear will be found with enchantments already attached. There are also legendary pieces of armor, some just being a special version of a set while others are totally unique.

Remember, this includes chest plates, helmets, grieves, bracers, and shields, but we’ll be focusing on the chest pieces or full sets when we refer to stats. That’s because many players may want to equip unique helms, shields, and other items rather than just wearing the basic set.

Bethesda Game Studios.
The Nightingale set is one of the best light armors in the game.

Best heavy armor sets in Skyrim

Here are the best heavy armor sets you can find, smith, and equip in Skyrim:

Ebony Armor

Ebony armor is a slick dark silver set that starts spawning once you reach level 30 and beyond. It’s pretty common and offers a reasonable 96 defense. It also looks rather cool and is the armor of choice for many powerful NPCs and enemies.

It also has a unique version of the breastplate called the Ebony Mail which can be unlocked by completing the Daedric quest ‘Boethia’s Calling’ – and after you kill his previous champion. This item hurts enemies when they get close to you and can last you all the way to the endgame. It’s also a great piece of gear to give to a follower should you upgrade to a set with more defense.

ebony armor
The Ebony Mail turns black and cloudy and hurts nearby enemies.

Dragonplate Armor

Dragonplate armor is the set of choice for the professional dragon-slayer as it has to be smithed by one who’s killed enough dragons to craft it in the first place. While it does spawn in the wild after you reach level 40, it’s much easier to smith a set once you’ve gathered enough materials from killing Skyrim’s dragon population. It offers a nice 102 defense but is beaten by the next two sets.

Dragonplate armor
Dragonplate armor is made from the dragons you’ve slain.

Stalhrim Armor

This armor was added to the game as part of the Dragonborn DLC and can only be found on the Isle of Solstheim after reaching level 35. It’s also the set worn by most of the guards, bandits, and mercenaries on the Island and is therefore quite common.

However, it has the same defense stat (102) as Dragonscale armor and is lighter to boot, making it an ideal replacement for those jumping into the expansion. Those playing one of the special edition versions of Skyrim could skip the previous armor entirely and collect a Stalhrim set as soon as they hit level 35.

Stalhrim armor
You’ll need the Dragonborn DLC to obtain Stalhrim armor.

Daedric Armor

Straight out of the realm of Oblivion, this is arguably the best vanilla heavy armor in all of Skyrim. It will start to spawn at level 48, but even then is quite rare and hard to find. The most reliable way to obtain a Daedric set is to smith it at a forge, although you can get lucky and run into enemies wearing a full set or at least parts. It also boasts a whopping 108 defense points, making it the highest in the base game.

The Daedric set makes your character look like a tall and menacing demon and is the same armor worn by Mehrunes Dagon’s Dremora soldiers – so any you find in the wild was most likely forged in Hell itself. There are no unique Daedric armor items, but they can be enchanted to suit your build.

daedric armor
Daedric armor is the best armor in the game.

Best light armor sets in Skyrim

Here are the best heavy armor sets you can find, smith, and equip in Skyrim.

Nightingale Armor

This cool-looking set can be obtained during the Thieves Guild questline as a gift from the Daedric Prince Nocturnal after they make you one of their champions. It’s the perfect set for a light rogue character and offers some nice enchantments, as well as a decent level of protection at 69 defense points. It can last some players the entire game and even makes an excellent gift to a follower.

nightingale armor
The Nightingale armor is a gift from Nocturnal.

Ancient Shrouded Armor

This set is mostly an enhanced version of the basic Shrouded armor set you get after joining the Dark Brotherhood, only this set has better stats. It can be found during the quest ‘Locate the Assassin of Old’ on the body of a long-dead Dark Brotherhood member.

Its defense stat is 72, which is pretty high for a fabric-based light armor. It can also be enchanted to make it even more useful, depending on your build. It will also set you apart from your fellow assassins in the guild, now you possess the best armor.

ancient shrouded armor
Ancient shrouded armor is a unique shrouded armor set.

Deathbrand Armor

Deathbrand armor is the best light armor in the game and can be found gradually during the ‘Deathbrand’ quest in the Dragonborn DLC. It has the highest defense stat of any other light armor in the game, at 78.5, and can also be enchanted to make it even more powerful.

If you’re a heavy armor user and have no need of Deathbrand, consider giving the armor to a valued follower, especially if they’re a light armor user. This will keep them alive in combat a lot longer.

Deathbrand armor
Deathbrand armor is the best light armor in the game.

So there you have it, the 7 best Skyrim armor sets. For more gaming guides and lists, check out our content below:

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