Smithing is a pathway to making incredibly powerful characters in Skyrim, but players need to know what they are doing. Aside from simply leveling up the Smithing skill or using Potions of Fortify Smithing to artificially enhance the player's skill, it also helps to understand the many different materials available to players within the world. These can be fashioned into all sorts of weapons and armor, but there is a distinct hierarchy in terms of how powerful each one is. While players don't always have to use the most powerful option available to them, it's important to know the pros and cons of each weapon material.


There are plenty of unique weapons for players to find in Skyrim, but this will focus more on the standard craftable weapons. Most of these can be made at any forge provided the player has the appropriate Smithing skill unlocked to do so, and there are about a dozen or so different options. The most important things to consider when crafting a weapon are its damage, weight, and looks.

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Although having a cool looking weapon in Skyrim is important, this trait can't exactly be quantified, so the weapons below will be ranked based purely on their base damage and weight. Damage is always considered more important than weight, and the two usually go up in tandem. For example, an Iron Sword does 7 damage and weighs 9 units, while a Steel sword does 8 damage and weighs 10 units.

  • Iron
  • Steel
  • Orcish
  • Dwarven
  • Elven
  • Skyforge Steel** (Cannot be crafted)
  • Nord Hero
  • Glass
  • Ebony
  • Stalhrim
  • Daedric
  • Dragonbone

The list above is a good guide to get players started when it comes to smithing weapons, but there are some specifics that are worth noting. First of all, Elven, Skyforge Steel, and Nord Hero weapons all do the same amount of damage, but all weigh different amounts. Surprisingly, Elven is the heaviest of the three, followed by Skyforge Steel and then Nord Hero. Given the choice between these three weapons, Nord Hero is the best statistically speaking. Likewise, Ebony and Stalhrim weapons deal the same base damage, but Stalhrim both weighs less and Frost enchantments put on it are more effective. Finally, it's worth noting that while Dragonbone does more damage than Daedric weaponry, it is significantly heavier.

With a high level Smithing skill and the right enchantments, any of these weapons can be made into viable options, so players definitely shouldn't limit themselves based purely off of base stats. Still, a Daedric Sword will always be stronger than a Steel Sword at the same upgrade level, so it is worth at least taking into consideration.

Skyrim is available now on PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.

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