Armour is incredibly important when you’re playing Skyrim.
Because, without proper protection, you risk getting shot with an arrow to the knee (get it?), among other dangers.
Kidding aside, you really do need to wear armor in Skyrim.
Unfortunately, this puts you in quite the dilemma.
Unless you’re an FPS purist and play Skyrim exclusive in a first-person perspective, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time looking at your character, which makes looking good just as important as wearing protection in Skyrim.
With that said, we decided to take the time to list down some of the best light armors that are available in Skyrim, using a mixed criteria of aesthetic and function, to help you choose the right armor set to accompany you on your adventures.
Why Wear Light Armor in Skyrim?
First things first though, you might be wondering, why would you wear light armor in Skyrim?
It’s true, light armor doesn’t provide the best protection in the game.
That distinction goes to heavy armor.
But, due to certain in-game mechanics, including the armour level cap, you can make it so that certain light armor can provide just as much protection as heavy armor.
Not to mention, light armor doesn’t weigh nearly as much as heavy armor, making it perfect for running around and sneaking about in Skyrim.
How Does the Armour Level Cap Work in Skyrim?
The armor level cap in Skyrim is displayed as 567.
You can reach this through a variety of means.
The most conventional method is to wear a full armour set.
This includes pieces for the head, torso, hands, and then feet.
However, each piece of armor you wear in Skyrim also comes with a +25 bonus that’s hidden.
Another way of reaching the armor level cap is by crafting or enchanting.
Also, even if you reach the armor cap, the amount of damage that’s mitigated in Skyrim is limited only to 80%.
This means that you’ll still be taking damage, regardless of how much armor you plan on stacking once you’ve already reached the maximum, so be sure to keep that in mind.
5. Nightingale Armor
A favourite among light armor users, the Nightingale Armor combines excellent aesthetics with arguably even better protection and perks.
The long list of perks include an additional 40 stamina points, a 50% increase in frost resistance, 25% additional damage to all one-handed attacks you inflict, as well as bonuses to Sneaking and Lockpicking, with a small reduction cost to any and all illusion spells that you cast (17%).
Whether you’re a dual-wielding assassin, or just someone who prefers to use one weapon, the Nightingale Armor is hard to beat in Skyrim.
You can get the Nightingale Armor by doing the Trinity Restored quest as part of the Thieves Guild quest line.
4. Dragonscale Armor
If you’re looking to max and reach the armor level cap without really going through much trouble, the Dragonscale Armor is for you. But, then again, getting your hands on one isn’t that easy.
Forged using a combination of materials, such as Dragon Scale, Iron Ingot, as well as Leather Strips, and unlocked only once you’ve reached level 100 in Smithing plus have the Dragon Armour perk unlocked, the Dragonscale Armor is arguably the endgame armor in Skyrim for those that prefer to wear light armor.
Unfortunately, outside of the higher armor values, the Dragonscale Armor set doesn’t really offer anything else.
Still, it looks awesome, provides optimal protection, and you’ll always get compliments when you’re wearing it, so there’s that.
3. Deathbrand Armor
The Dragonscale Armor set is the best armor in the game, but, it takes quite a while to acquire, which makes the Deathbrand Armor the next best thing.
Scattered across four separate locations during the Deathbrand quest as part of the Dragonborn questline, you can upgrade the Deathbrand Armor set using pieces of Stalhrim along with the Arcane Blacksmith perk.
The improvements also double if you have the Ebony Smithing perk, which makes it useful to have it, but might not be that easy to get considering that it is on the Heavy Armor side of the Smithing skill tree.
Still, without improvements or enchantments, the Deathbrand Armor set is hard to beat, especially if worn as a four-piece set, as it grants a +100 armor bonus when all four are worn.
2. Guild Master’s Armor
Once you’ve completely brought the Thieves Guild in Skyrim back to its former glory and started the Under New Management quest, as well as completely all of the quests asked of you by Delvin Mallory and/or Vex, a small ceremony will take place at the Ragged Flagon Cistern where you’ll be officially made as the guild master.
Afterwards, you can speak to Tonilia to get the Guild Master’s armor set.
The Guild Master’s Armor set and the Nightingale Armor set are quite comparable.
In fact, it provides better protection compared to the latter, although this is mitigated by wearing the full set.
Technically, you can also get a better Guild Master’s Armor set if you have the Dragonborn expansion installed.
You can get yourself the Blackguard’s Armor set in Glover Mallory’s house during the Pain in Full quest to get stronger enchantments, albeit at the cost of a lower armor rating.
The Guild Master’s Armor set enchantments include a 50 point increase in Carrying capacity; a 35% increase in Pickpocket success chance; makes Lockpicking 35% easier; gives a 20% price bonus when you’re selling or buying.
If you have the Blackguard Armor’s set equipped, but the Pickpocket, Lockpicking, and price bonuses are 5% better.
1. Ancient Shrouded Armor
With relatively high armor rating, as well as gloves and boots as impressive as that from the Dragonscale armor, the Ancient Shrouded Armor set is one of the best in Skyrim, especially when you consider how easy it is to acquire it.
Other bonuses include a +25 Armor when wearing the full set; Immunity to Poison; +35% Bow Damage; double the Sneak attack damage using one-handed weapons.
You can get the Ancient Shrouded Armor set as part of the Locate the Assassin of Old side quest that’s part of the Dark Brotherhood quest line.
You can receive the quest from Olava the Feeble where you can then pick the set up from the corpse of an assassin hidden behind the throne in Hag’s End.
Skyrim is home to all sorts of Light Armor sets.
However, when it comes to the best of the best, these five are the absolute crème of the crop.
You can choose which of the five you want to wear.
Either way, you’ll be well protected from arrows to the knees when you’re wearing any one of these sets.