best dagger in skyrim

Best Dagger in Skyrim

Latest posts by Alex Maksymiw (see all)

There’s something about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim that has players returning for more. Whether it’s the seemingly endless number of quests and characters or the gameplay, I can bet that all players of Skyrim have picked up a dagger or bow and roleplayed as a sneaky assassin.

For a good reason, the Dark Brotherhood and Thieves Guild questlines are arguably the most fun and immersive stories in the game. Sneaking around Mercer’s house, dagger in hand, during “The Pursuit” quest has an unforgettable revelation.

I’ve compiled a list of the best daggers in Skyrim, so let’s get up close and personal, deal a 15x Sneak Attack, and jump straight in!

Bottom Line-Up Front

If you haven’t got the time to read the whole article, no worries, I got your back. Here are the best daggers in Skyrim with all the important information you need!

  • Vladr’s Lucky Dagger
  • Bloodthorn
  • Blade of Sacrifice
  • Keening
  • Blade of Woe
  • Daedric Dagger
  • Madness Dagger
  • Dragonbone Dagger
  • Amber Dagger
  • Stahlrim Dagger
  • Mehrunes’ Razor
  • Fang of Haynekhtnamet

Vladr’s Lucky Dagger and Bloodthorn pale compared to other One-handed daggers on this list. However, they are by far the best daggers to obtain early in the game. You will be able to start filling your Empty Soul Gems earlier and deal deadly critical hits and gain a small bonus to health recovery.

Mehrunes’ Razor is up there as one of the best daggers in the game. It has a tiny chance to kill anything with a single strike. However, I much prefer the Keening, as this dagger deals some damage with its absorbed Health, Magicka, and Stamina enchantments.

Suppose you are playing on Vanilla Skyrim with no DLC installed. In that case, the Daedric Dagger is the best dagger you can acquire in the game. It may not have as much base damage as the Blade of Woe, but it can be upgraded and enchanted to become far superior.

Selection Criteria

To find the best daggers in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, we first must explore what makes a strong One-handed dagger for sneaking around. The region of Skyrim is filled with danger, and a dagger is significantly smaller than a Two-handed Steel Greatsword. So these daggers must be razor-sharp. Throughout the article, I’ll explain how to best utilize each dagger with perks and equipment.

Here is a list of factors I took into consideration to piece together this list:

  • The dagger must have excellent damage, regardless of whether this is physical or from enchantments.
  • Daggers are exceptionally light, and the best is the lightest. Therefore this is a stat that will be taken into account.
  • Skyrim is over a decade long as a result; I’ll include weapons from The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dawnguard DLC, The Elder Scrolls V: Dragonborn DLC, and content from the Creation Club.
  • I’ve included both craftable daggers and unique daggers into the list to ensure that the best daggers from both items classes are present.

Stalhrim Dagger

Stalhrim Dagger Skyrim Special Edition
Screenshot by Alex Maksymiw
  • Damage: 10
  • Weight: 4.5
  • Upgrade Material: Stalhrim

There’s no better dagger to start off the list than the Stalhrim Dagger.

Forged with the icy ore native to Solstheim, the Stahlrim Dagger is one of the best daggers in Skyrim. Stalhrim ore has unique properties that, when forged into One-handed weapons such as a dagger, have 25% stronger Frost Damage enchantments.

You can increase the amount of Frost Damage you deal with the Stalhrim Dagger by 50% by obtaining the Augmented Frost 2/2 perk in the Destruction Magic skill tree.

Moreover, using the Extra Effect Enchantment perk, you can apply the Chaos enchantment to the Stalhrim Dagger to increase all elemental damage by 25 points, however, at a 50% chance per hit.

You will need The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Dragonborn DLC and the Ebony Smithing perk to be able to craft Stalhrim Daggers. Unlike other crafting materials, you won’t need to smelt Stalhrim ore to craft Stalhrim weapons.

The Skyrim Stalhrim Weapons Replace mod replaces the original Stalhrim weapons with translucent models that offer a fantastic and icy new look.

The Refracting Stalhrim CBBE UNP 7Base with optional transparency mod takes it a step further, granting you options to tweak the Stalhrim weapons and armor to your liking. I highly recommend these mods if planning to use the Stalhrim Dagger.

Madness Dagger

Madness dagger skyrim

  • Damage: 14
  • Weight: 7
  • Upgrade Material: Madness Ingot

The Madness Dagger is the highest physical damage-dealing dagger in the game. It’s also the heaviest. The Saints & Seducers Creation Club DLC must be installed to acquire a Madness Dagger. Luckily for you, Bethesda released the Saints and Seducers addon for free for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition and versions onward.

But thats not all. You’ll have to acquire the Note on Amber and Madness Ore located in a bandit camp near Thoron to trigger a miscellaneous quest to learn more about crafting with Madness Ore. This will lead you to Evethra’s Journal near Mistwatch to unlock Madness crafting.

To craft the Madness Dagger, you’ll need the following:

  • 1 x Madness Ingot
  • 1 x Ebony Ingot
  • 1 x Leather Strips

The Madness Dagger deals a lot of damage, but with the right perks, the Madness Dagger can deal even more damage. The Backstab perk multiplies backstab damage by six. Unlock the Assassin’s Blade, and it will deal fifteen times more damage.

I highly recommend equipping the Shrouded Gloves or other Dark Brotherhood-related gauntlet equipment, as this will double the damage of your backstab attacks. These methods can be applied to every other dagger on this list.

Amber Dagger

Amber Dagger skyrim

  • Damage: 12
  • Weight: 4.5
  • Upgrade Material: Refined Amber

The Amber Dagger’s damage is on par with the Dragonbone Dagger, and it weighs slightly less. Smelting Amber forges the Amber Dagger into Refined Amber, a resource only found in the Saints & Seducers Creation Club addon. This is free if you own the Special Edition or above.

To craft an Amber Dagger, you must have the Glass Smithing Perk unlocked and have found Evethra’s Journal obtained by following the miscellaneous quest received by reading the Note on Amber and Madness Ore. The Amber Dagger beats its Dark Dagger counterpart in damage, albeit it’s slightly heavier. Moreover, the Amber Dagger offers a fresh, distinct look over other One-handed daggers in the game.

I added the Amber Dagger to the list as Amber weapons and equipment are lore-friendly and have featured in The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall.

The player can purchase Amber from the wandering Khajiit Caravans or steal it from the Dawnstar Chest, Solitude Chest, or Markarth Chest. In addition, Amber can be found in Hollowed Stumps in the Solitude Sewers. However, you must have the Saints and Seducers addon installed.

Daedric Dagger

Skyrim Special Edition Daedric Dagger
Screenshot by Alex Maksymiw
  • Damage: 11
  • Weight: 6
  • Upgrade Material: Ebony Ingot

The Daedric Dagger is one of the best daggers in the vanilla game, only beaten by the Dragonbone Dagger and Blade of Woe. Its base damage is lower than the Madness Dagger but slightly lighter. Although not a unique weapon, the Daedric Dagger is arguably one of the best-looking weapons in the game. However, it will cost you an arm and a leg to craft.

To craft the Daedric Dagger, you will need to unlock the Daedric Smithing perk and reach level ninety in Smithing. For materials, you will need the following:

1 x Daedra Heart
1 x Leather Strips
1 x Ebony Ingot

Daedric Hearts are one of the rarest crafting materials in the game. You’ll acquire hundreds of Dragon Bones before finding a Daedra Heart. However, Enthir, a merchant located in the College of Winterhold, stocks two Daedra Hearts every two days.

If you want to enhance the visuals of the Daedric Dagger, then consider installing the Rudy HQ – More Lights for ENB SE – Daedric Weapons and Armor mod, as this adds customizable glowing red particle light to all Daedric weapons and Daedric Armor.

Moreover, if you’re bored with vanilla Skyrim’s selection of weapons, consider installing the Daedric Weapons Expanded V2.0 mod. This adds new Daedric weapons inspired by the weapons of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind into the game, and they look amazing!

Dragonbone Dagger

Dragonbone Dagger
Screenshot by Alex Maksymiw
  • Damage: 12
  • Weight: 6.5
  • Upgrade Material: Dragon Bone

The Dragonbone Dagger is one of the highest damage-dealing daggers in the game and is superior to the Daedric Dagger. Daggers are the lightest physical weapons in the game, so the extra 0.5 weight is barely noticeable. To craft Dragonbone Daggers, you must own The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: Dawnguard DLC and have unlocked the Dragon Armor Smithing perk.

If you meet these requirements, you’ll find the Dragon Dagger is a lot easier to craft than the Daedric Dagger, thanks to the abundant supply of Dragon Bones in Skyrim. So if you own the Dawnguard DLC, there really is no point in crafting Daedric Daggers.

If the player visits the Soul Cairn at level 46+, they can loot Dragonbone weapons such as the Dragonbone Battleaxe and Dragonbone Bow from Keepers but sadly, not the Dragonbone Dagger.

The Simply Destructive Dragonbone Weapons mod retextures and replaces the Dragonbone weapons meshes to give them an enhanced ivory look. However, if you want to keep that brutal and barbaric feel to Dragonbone weapons, the Dragon Bone Weapons Complete mod is for you.

Blade of Sacrifice

Skyrim Special Edition Blade of Sacrifice
Screenshot by Alex Maksymiw
  • Damage: 10
  • Weight: 4
  • Upgrade Material: Ebony Ingot

The Blade of Sacrifice is a unique Ebony Dagger, and wow! This dagger is easy on the eyes and equally likely to take an eye. The Blade of Sacrifice is almost identical to the Ebony Dagger, apart from a few differences:

  • The Blade of Sacrifice weighs a point less than the Ebony Dagger.
  • The dagger has a darker color, similar to the Ancient Nord weapons.

The Blade of Sacrifice can be upgraded on a Grindstone with an Ebony Ingot, but it does not benefit from the Ebony Smithing perk. It also cannot be enchanted, meaning that players are better off using the Ebony Dagger.

I added this weapon to the list of best daggers in Skyrim, as there are only 11 unique daggers in Skyrim. However, if you’re playing Skyrim on PC, you likely have the Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch mod installed. This mod fixes all kinds of bugs in the game and updates the Blade of Sacrifice to benefit from Daedric Smithing.

The player acquires the Blade of Sacrifice at the Sacellum of Boethiah during the “Boethiah’s Calling” Daedric quest. The dagger is used to sacrifice followers to Boethiah at the Pillar of Sacrifice.

Blade of Woe

Blade of Woe Skyrim Special Edition
Screenshot by Alex Maksymiw
  • Damage: 12
  • Weight: 7
  • Upgrade Material: None required

The Blade of Woe is a unique One-handed dagger and is the slowest-swinging dagger in Skyrim. It’s a dagger that keeps on giving or taking if you’re on the pointy end. The Blade of Woe has first introduced in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and would later feature in The Elder Scrolls: Online.

The blade of Woe’s physical damage is on par with the Dragonbone Dagger, and it weighs slightly more. However, the Blade of Woe Absorbs ten points of Health per strike.

If that wasn’t good enough, the Blade of Woe could be upgraded at a Grindstone with the Arcane Blacksmith perk without any crafting materials and benefits from the Steel Smithing perk so the player can double the effectiveness upgrading the dagger, making it a lot easier to obtain a Blade of Woe (Legendary).

The Blade of Woe has very few charges and can be exploited to level the player’s Enchantment skill. Alternatively, the player can equip armor that is enchanted with Fortify Destruction to decrease the cost of each charge per hit.

If you play on PC modded, the Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch will increase the speed of the Blade of Woe to match other One-handed daggers.

The Blade of Woe can be acquired on multiple occasions:

  • Obtained by completing the “Death Incarnate” Dark Brotherhood quest.
  • Looted after killing Astrid in the Abandoned Shack during the “With Friends Like These” quest.


Bloodthorn Skyrim Special Edition
Screenshot by Alex Maksymiw
  • Damage: 5
  • Weight: 2.5
  • Upgrade Material: Steel Ingot

The Bloodthorn is yet another unique Steel One-handed dagger. It may only deal five points of damage per hit, but it is one of Skyrim’s best daggers to obtain at lower levels.

The Bloodthorn dagger is enchanted with the unique Hag’s End Soul Trap enchantment allowing players to fill empty Soul Gems if the target dies within three seconds of being hit. The Bloodthorn has a secondary hidden enchantment that drains ten points of Health per hit.

Altogether the Bloodthorn deals fifteen points of damage per hit. The Bloodthorn can be upgraded at a Grindstone with Steel Ingots to improve its damage, although you will need the Arcane Blacksmith and Steel Smithing perk unlocked.

The Bloodthorn may not be as deadly as the Keening and other daggers on this list, but it is one of the best daggers to acquire early in the game.

The player can obtain Bloodthorn at the end of the Hag’s End dungeon on a table next to Juniper Berries. Hag’s end can be found south of Solitude. However, you will have to fight through numerous Hagravens before reaching the Bloodthorn dagger,

Valdr’s Lucky Dagger

Valdr's Lucky Dagger
Screenshot by Alex Maksymiw
  • Damage: 5
  • Weight: 2.5
  • Upgrade Material: Steel Ingot

Valdr’s Lucky Dagger looks like any plain old Steel Dagger lying around in Skyrim. However, on closer inspection is one of the strongest unique daggers in the game.

Its value, however, does not come from its looks or its measly stats but its unique effect to grant a 25% chance to land a Critical Hit on the player’s target. This means that one in four strikes will inflict double damage on your opponent.

Typically critical hit damage is half the weapons base damage. However, Valdr’s Lucky Dagger’s critical damage is set to five, making it significantly better than the regular Steel Dagger. Valdr’s Lucky Dagger can be upgraded on a Grindstone with a Steel Ingot to increase its base damage.

You can acquire Valdr’s Lucky Dagger during the “Hunter and Hunter” quest, where the player must help Valdr avenge his fallen comrades in Moss Mother Cavern.

Valdr’s Lucky Dagger is a fantastic dagger to acquire early in the game; however, its power wavers as enemy levels scale. However, the player can utilize the Elemental Fury Dragon Shout to increase the attack speed of Valdr’s Lucky Dagger by 50%, 75%, and 100%, depending on the level of the shout.


Keening skyrim special edition
Screenshot by Alex Maksymiw
  • Damage: 8
  • Weight: 6
  • Upgrade Material: N/A

The Keening lands a spot on the list of best Daggers in Skyrim thanks to its high base damage and powerful “Keening’s Sting” enchantment that enables the player to absorb ten points of Health, Magicka, and Stamina. The Keening dagger was first introduced in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.

The Keening Dagger’s enchantment cannot be recharged with Soul Gems. Still, it’s possible to keep its enchantment charged by equipping a piece of equipment with the Fortify Destruction enchantment, as this decreases the cost of the Keening’s Sting enchantment by 100% per hit.

The Keening Dagger cannot be upgraded by Grindstone or through Enchanting in vanilla Skyrim. However, the Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch mod enables the Keening to be upgraded at a Grindstone with Dwarven Ingots.

Moreover, the mod grants the Keening’s Keening’s Sting enchantment infinite charges. Once the Keening’s enchantment charge is depleted in vanilla Skyrim, the Keening is on par with the Elven Dagger.

The Keening Dagger is acquired by completing the “Arniel’s Endeavor” quest at numerous radiant locations. To acquire the “Arniel’s Endeavor” quest by talking to Arniel in the College of Winterhold and completing the “Hitting the Books” quest and “Eye of Magnus” quest.

Mehrunes’ Razor

Mehrunes' Razor
Screenshot by Alex Maksymiw
  • Damage: 11
  • Weight: 3
  • Upgrade Material: Ebony Ingot

Mehrunes’ Razor is hands down the best dagger in Skyrim. It has a small chance of killing any enemy in a single hit. This means you could potentially kill Alduin with a single blow.

The player can upgrade Mehrunes’ Razor on a Grindstone with an Ebony Ingot. However, Mehrunes’ Razor cannot be enchanted or benefit from the Ebony Smithing perk.

Despite Mehrunes’ Razor having a powerful one-shot ability, the dagger is best used in the left hand while dual wielding as the left-hand weapon strikes twice in a flurry.

Mehrunes’ Razor is a Daedric Artifact, so acquiring it will count towards the Oblivion Walker achievement.

The player can acquire Mehrunes’ Razor by completing the “Pieces of the Past” quest and killing Silus Vesuius.

Mehrunes’ Razor is one of the oldest and best daggers in The Elder Scrolls series. The dagger was first introduced in The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall, appeared in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and later returned in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion as an add-on for the game.

Fang of Haynekhtnamet

Fang of Haynekhtnamet skyrim

  • Damage: 13
  • Weight: 6.5
  • Upgrade Material: Dragon Bone

The Fang of Haynekhtnamet deals more damage than most swords in Skyrim! Thanks to its high base damage and electrifying enchantment. Enemies struck by the Fang of Haynekhtnamet take twenty-five points of Shock damage and half as much Magicka damage. As a result, the Fang of Haynekhtnamet is easily one of the best daggers in Skyrim.

Vanilla Skyrim players won’t be able to obtain the Fang of Haynekhtnamet. However, if you own the Skyrim Special Edition or above, you can obtain the Fang of Haynekhtnamet for free. The Fishing Creation Club add-on (a free add-on for Special Edition and Anniversary Edition owners) adds the Fang of Haynekhtnamet to the game.

To acquire the Fang of Haynekhtnamet, the player must complete the “Fishing Legend” quest given to the player from Swims-In-Deep-Waters located at the Riften Fishery.

To complete the quest, the player must catch the following fish:

  • Angelfish – Caught with an Alikr Rod in Ancestor Glade
  • Angler – Caught in freezing waters with the Argonian Rod.
  • Scorpion Fish – Caught with the Argonian Rod in Darkfall Cave.
  • Lyretail Anthias – Caught with the Alikr Rod in Evergreen Grove.

The Fang of Haynekhtnamet is perfect for a Dark Elf stealth mage, as the Augmented Shock perk will increase the amount of Shock damage dealt to targets per hit.

Mehrunes' Razor Skyrim best dagger
Screenshot by Alex Maksymiw


Question: What are the Best Perks to Obtain For Daggers in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim?

Answer: Daggers don’t have their own specified perks in the One-handed Skill tree; however, damage with daggers can be improved by 20%, with each rank of the Armsman perk maxing out at 100% extra damage. The Dual Flurry 2/2 will increase dual-wielding attack speed by 35%.

This is a significant buff that will enable you to increase your dagger’s damage output by over a third. Savage Strike will increase standing power attacks by an extra 25%, and Paralyzing Strike enables players a 25% chance of paralyzing a target from backward power attacks.

This is complimented well with the Dual Savagery Perk granting players 50% extra damage from dual-wielding power attacks. Combining the Critical Charge One-handed perk with the Silent Roll Sneak perk will enable you to deal with a devastating critical hit.

Question: How Can I Cure Vampirism in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim?

Answer: It’s very easy to contract Vampirism from Vampires when fighting up close with a dagger. However, you can cure Vampirism by drinking a Cure Disease Potion, or speaking to Falion, who will cure you by leading you to Summoning Stones near Morthal. You can find Falion in Morthal.

Question: How Do I Obtain the Skeleton Key in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim?

Answer: The Skeleton Key is a unique enchanted lockpick that cannot be broken. The key is rewarded to the player for completing the “Blindsighted” Thieves Guild quest. However, the player will lose the Skeleton Key during the “Darkness Returns” Thieves Guild quest. PC players can spawn the Skeleton Key into their inventory; however, this key version is purely aesthetic and can be broken while picking locks.

Best Dagger in Skyrim: Conclusion

There we have it! Eleven daggers that are worthy of a kingslayer. On a closing note, the daggers listed in this article waiver in use at different stages in the game. I highly recommend that players obtain Vlardr’s Lucky Dagger and Bloodthorn early in the game, as these daggers used in unison can propel lower-level characters into the mid-game.

The Bloodthorn is a fantastic One-handed dagger that can be used to fill empty Soul Gems that can be used later when the player decides to level their Enchanting skill.

You’re more likely to obtain the Blade of Woe or Keening before you can craft any of the craftable One-handed daggers featured in this list. However, do not neglect these unique daggers once you’ve crafted an Amber Dagger or Dragonbone Dagger, as the unique daggers can be useful in certain situations. Moreover, daggers are extremely light compared to most One-handed weapons, so why not carry a collection around with you?

The beauty of these daggers is that they can be dual-wielded, allowing the player to strategize deadly combinations. For example, wielding the Blade of Woe in your left hand to make it swing faster, combined with the Keening in your right, will allow you to Absorb and Drain your target’s Health, Magicka, and Stamina. It also makes Fortified Destruction enchanted armor sets a viable pick to decrease weapon charge costs and save your precious Soul Gems. So experiment with your daggers to see what combination best suits you.

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