“Favor the bow, eh? I’m a top ten list man myself.”
Many Skyrim players that make use of the archery skill tree are meticulous about what bow they use. They’ll squeeze every bit of damage they can get out of improving the crafting or strengthening the enchantments on the bow. Arrow selection, on the other hand, is frequently overlooked. The damage your bow is capable of spitting out can vary greatly depending on the arrow you’re using. The best Skyrim arrows don’t take up any space in your inventory, so there’s no reason not to come prepared with as many as you can muster.
Because there’s no improving or enchanting an arrow, the two criteria we considered in this list are damage and availability. Damage is obvious, but is an arrow really the best if you can’t count on having those around? Check out our list below to discover Skyrim’s best arrows.
The Top Ten Best Skyrim Arrows
10. Steel Arrow
How to obtain: Basically, anywhere. Common loot items that can also be easily crafted with the Dawnguard DLC.
The most basic of arrows you’ll discover in Skyrim, the steel arrow still earns a spot on our list. It has improved damage compared to most of the low-end arrows you’ll find in the early game. What’s more, you’ll find steel arrows everywhere. Most merchants will sell them and they are frequently found on corpses.
9. Orcish Arrow
How to obtain: Discoverable as loot or in merchant inventory once you reach level 6. With Dawnguard, craftable in sets of 24.
While it doesn’t offer the best damage, Orcish arrows are noticeably better than the most craftable arrows like steel or iron. Once you reach level six they are easy to find, with most merchants carrying at least a few. While it is possible to craft them if you have the DawnguardDLC, there are usually better uses for Orichalcum.
8. Nordic Arrow
How to obtain: With the Dawnguard DLC, these can be crafted using the Advanced Armor perk.
The Nordic Arrow offers a damage upgrade from the Orcish arrow, but it is limited due to its availability. You must have Dawnguard installed and the Advanced Armors perk enabled to craft these at all. Even then, each arrow requires one unit each of firewood, steel, and quicksilver to craft. This makes the crafting of Nordic arrows fairly costly compared to the damage output.
7. Dwarven Arrow
How to obtain: Discoverable as loot in and around Dwemer ruins at all levels. With the DawnguardDLC, you can craft these in huge quantities if you have the Dwarven Smithing perk. Finally, if you marry Aela the Huntress she will sell up to 30 to you every few days.
Dwarven arrows are arguably the best early game arrow around. You can find them at the very beginning of the game if you search dwemer ruins, and they are available from many merchants. While 14 damage isn’t top of the line, it’s excellent given how early in the game they are available. For the later game, easily-available dwarven metal ingots make it simple to smith plenty of these arrows if you have the DawnguardDLC.
6. Elven Arrow
How to obtain: Found as loot after reach level 15.
With 16 damage, Elven Arrows are in the top 25% of the most dangerous arrows in Skyrim. The biggest issue is finding enough of them to use frequently. While they are discoverable as loot and available from some merchants, they are fairly scarce.
5. Glass Arrow
How to obtain: Found as loot after reaching level 25. Available from merchants after level 30.
Glass arrows do excellent damage, and once they become available in your game they are reasonably easy to collect in larger volumes. The biggest downside for glass arrows is that they don’t appear until well into the game.
4. Ebony Arrow
How to obtain: These arrows will rarely appear starting at level 20. They can be crafted if you have Dawnguard, with the materials available once you reach level 40. Purchased from the fletcher in Solitude after level 10.
One of the best arrows available, the Ebony Arrow has excellent damage. Ebony arrows are reasonably easy to find after the very early stages of the game thanks to their availability at the fletcher in Solitude. In the later game, these arrows can be mass produced.
3. Daedric Arrow
How to obtain: Extremely rare. Found as loot at level 25, may be bought at a fletcher at level 30. With Dawnguard, it’s possible to craft them using rare materials.
At 24 base damage, it’s not hard to see why the Daedric Arrow is high on our list. However, the limited availability of the arrow really holds it back from being one of the best arrows in Skyrim. While it is possible to craft these arrows, you will need one each of firewood, an ebony ingot, and a daedra heart. Using the Dremora Merchant power, you can purchase some of these arrows every two days.
2. Dragonbone Arrow
How to obtain: With Dawnguard DLC, you can craft them yourself with Smithing at level 100 and the Dragon Armor perk.
With easily the best damage, we were tempted to list Dragonbone arrows as the Skyrim’s best arrow. However, lack of availability holds it back as being overly useful. These arrows are almost never looted, aren’t available from merchants, and can only be crafted with perfect Smithing skills.
1. Stalhrim Arrow
How to obtain: With Dragonborn DLC, you can purchase them from merchants at any level, or craft them yourself with Smithing level 80 and the Ebony Smithing perk.
At the top of our lists is the Stalhrim arrow. You’ll need the Dragonborn DLC to use the arrow, but they’re surprisingly easy to come by for such a powerful arrow. While they don’t have the highest damage of any arrow, they’re close. The real value in these arrows is that they can be found regardless of level. Once you complete the quest A New Source of Stalhrim, you’ll have access to them. You can craft them yourself with a Smithing level of 80 and the Ebony Smithing perk. You can also purchase them from certain merchants including Glover Mallory at Raven Rock.