30 best Skyrim mods in 2024 on PC, PlayStation & Xbox

30 best Skyrim mods in 2024 on PC, PlayStation & Xbox
Images via Bethesda Game Studios | hothtrooper44

Written by 

Tarran Stockton

Last updated 

14th Mar 2024 09:41


Skyrim's extended lifespan is notably due to modding, with some players of the opinion that it's only a great game because of mods. Despite what your opinion on the matter may be, mods have the potential to add a lot to the game, expanding it beyond the scope of what's already a pretty large game.

If you're like me and have spent hours upon hours scrolling through the many mods available to download for Skyrim, have no fear, Dragonborn, because I've collated a list of the best ones you don't want to miss.

Best Skyrim mods to download on PC

All of the mods on this list are considered lore-friendly, placing a big focus on providing a more immersive experience with better graphics, and improving on existing systems, like adding new followers.

I find a lot of the mods outside of this criteria to be one-note, and while having a Randy Savage-inspired dragon is funny, it doesn't add much to the overall experience.

Many of these mods are also designed for the original version of Skyrim - though some may work with the Legendary and Anniversary Editions if they've been updated.

Skyrim Script Extender

key art of the Skyrim Script Extender mod, one of the best Skyrim mods
Click to enlarge
Image via Ian Patterson, Stephen Abel, Paul Connelly, and Brendan Borthwick

Skyrim Script Extender, or SKSE for short, is one of the best mods you can get in Skyrim for one simple reason: it's necessary for, and facilitates, many of the game's other big modifications (some of which are on our list).

Effectively, it extends the capabilities of scripting, making it so modders can do far more with their creations, and should be your first download anytime you're looking to start a modded save in Tamriel.


an image of SkyUI compared to the vanila Skyrim UI
Click to enlarge
Image via schlangster

SkyUI sits as one of the most endorsed mods over at Skyrim Nexus and is one of my favourite additions to the game, providing a more PC-friendly user interface experience with much larger menus, allowing you to see more items and more information at the same time.

Skyrim HD - 2K Textures

an image of the Skyrim HD - 2K Textures mod, one of the best Skyrim mods
Click to enlarge
Image via nebula

Considering the game's age, the Skyrim HD - 2K Textures mod will likely be seen as a vital download for most people. It's a graphical mod that replaces many of Skyrim's vanilla textures with higher-quality versions, breathing new life into its visuals and helping it to look far more modern. 

aMidianBorn Book of Silence

an image of textures from the aMidianBorn Book of Silence mod for Skyrim
Click to enlarge
Images via CaBaL- EmeraldReign-the AMB team

aMidianBorn Book of Silence is very similar to Skyrim HD, serving as a texture replacement mod. However, Book of Silence replaces many of the textures that the previous mod misses, giving you even more to appreciate.

Static Mesh Improvement Mod - SMIM

an image of the Static Mesh Improvement Mod textures compared to vanilla Skyrim
Click to enlarge
Image via Brumbek

Third in this texture replacement trilogy of mods for Skyrim is the Static Mesh Improvement Mod, which greatly improves the appearance of countless static 3D models around the game, such as architecture, clutter, furniture, and much more.

What's more, it's compatible with the two previous mods - though you'll need to install them in reverse order of how they're listed here for maximum effect. 

Immersive Armors

key art of Immersive Armors, one of the best Skyrim mods on PC
Click to enlarge
Image via hothtrooper44

Next up is Immersive Armors from hothtrooper44, a graphical enhancement mod that improves upon many of the vanilla armours to make them look far better. 

That's not all, though, as Immersive Armors also takes this a step further, bringing new armour sets to the world for you to find throughout your adventure. In fact, there are over 60, meaning there's plenty more customisation at hand for your Dragonborn.

Immersive Weapons

promo image of the Immersive Weapons mod for Skyrim
Click to enlarge
Image via Hothtrooper44 - Ironman5000 - Eckss

Another mod from hothtrooper44, Immersive Weapons does much the same as Immersive Armors, but with, you guessed it, weapons. Adding over 200 new weapons at the time of writing, you'll come across these naturally as you play, located through the likes of dungeons and shops.

What's more, many of them can be crafted, upgraded, and enchanted, making this one the best mods if you're on the lookout for even more weapons to thwart the foes of Skyrim with.

A Quality World Map and Solstheim Map - With Roads

a promo image of the A Quality World Map and Solstheim Map - With Roads mod, one of the best Skyrim mods
Click to enlarge
Image via User_3142012

If you've played Skyrim multiple times since its release, you may find yourself growing a little tired of the default map.

That's where A Quality World Map and Solstheim Map - With Roads comes in, which removes clouds, improves the mesh for more natural-looking topography, and adds key roads to the world map to make it far easier to navigate around northern Tamriel. 

The mod also has additional visual styles to download if you so choose, with one being that of a paper map to add to the authenticity of it feeling like your Dragonborn is utilising it to get from point A to point B.

Climates of Tamriel

a promo image of the Climates of Tamriel mod
Click to enlarge
Image via JJC71

To help Skyrim feel more like a living world, Climates of Tamriel is one mod you should absolutely download. With games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and The Witcher 3 all having beautiful weather effects - and are what many gamers are now used to seeing in blockbuster RPGs - Climates of Tamriel brings Skyrim closer to the modern age.

With lots of variations to the weather itself, there are visual changes for everything from clear skies to sunny skies and blizzards. That's not all though, as it also includes thunder sounds alongside interior rain audio, perfect for curling up in your Dragonborn's home with.

Skyrim Flora Overhaul

an image of the Skyrim Flora Overhaul mod, one of the best Skyrim mods
Click to enlarge
Image via vurt

Skyrim Flora Overhaul is another fantastic graphical mod that you should make part of your line-up, as it overhauls the landscape with more varied and improved visuals for flora, representing the more beautiful side of nature found within Tamriel. 

Ultimate Follower Overhaul

the Ultimate Follower Overhaul mod for Skyrim
Click to enlarge
Image via fLoki

I find the basic AI of the followers in Skyrim wanting, so Ultimate Followers Overhaul is a great way to turn them into useful companions that can aid you in your journey.

The mod lets you increase the number of active followers, while also giving you more control over their abilities and equipment.

Cloaks of Skyrim

an image of a cloak from the Cloaks of Skyrim mod
Click to enlarge
Image via Noodles

I was obsessed with Game of Thrones when I started to mod Skyrim, so the Cloaks of Skyrim mod was a must-have that allowed me to be even more fashionable in-game.

Adding nearly 100 new styles of cloak to Skyrim, the mod allows players to craft or find them as static loot, letting you embrace the cosy fashion of the cold north even more.

Wet and Cold

a promo image of the Wet and Cold mod, one of the best Skyrim mods
Click to enlarge
Image via isoku

Wet and Cold is a mod focused on adding more immersion to Skyrim in the form of weather-dependent visual effects and NPC AI enhancements. With this in your game, you'll have another layer of realism to help make Skyrim feel that much more alive. 

With water drips during rain, soggy feet after taking a splash, and visible breath in icy areas, Wet and Cold makes the weather effects feel more real, and the NPCs feel more human as they dash to cover to keep their heads dry.

Apocalypse - Magic of Skyrim

a promo image of the Apocalypse - Magic of Skyrim mod
Click to enlarge
Image via Enai Siaion

Apocalypse - Magic of Skyrim is best suited to those who favour the magical arts as a form of attack, bringing new scrolls, staves, and over 150 new spells to Skyrim.

These blend seamlessly into the current magic system too, with unique and lore-friendly magic that won't break your game - or make you too overpowered. 

Realistic Water Two

an image of the Realistic Water Two mod for Skyrim
Click to enlarge
Image via isoku

Water in Skyrim is quite frankly rather ugly nowadays, but Realistic Water Two is here to save the day by replacing Tamriel's water surface textures to imitate the fluid motion more effectively. In turn, this makes lakes, ponds, rivers, and oceans visually and aurally distinct.

The Dance of Death

key art of the The Dance of Death mod, one of the best Skyrim mods
Click to enlarge
Image via DaedalusAI

Have you gotten sick of the standard kill moves in Skyrim? In that case, The Dance of Death is one mod that's best suited to you - as it restores unused kill moves and animations while also adding new ones to utilise, with many tied directly to your skills themselves. 

Immersive Patrols

a promo image of the Immersive Patrols mod for Skyrim
Click to enlarge
Image via Scrabbulor

Skyrim is supposed to be embroiled in a deadly civil war, but when exploring the world, you wouldn't really know it. Luckily, Immersive Patrols is here to add Stormcloak, Thalmor, and Imperial patrols across their respective domains of influence, with patrols that encounter each other engaging in battles. 

It adds a bit more dynamism to the experience of exploring the world and further immerses you into Skyrim's central human conflict. 

Realistic Lighting Overhaul

an image of the Realistic Lighting Overhaul mod, one of the best Skyrim mods
Click to enlarge
Image via The Realistic Lighting Team

Realistic Lighting Overhaul is a pretty simple (yet effective) graphical mod, providing a massive rework of Skyrim's lighting system.

It manages to make the game look prettier, and more realistic, while not affecting performance at all, so there's no excuse not to give it a try! 

Immersive HUD - iHUD

an promo image of the Immersive HUD - iHUD mod for Skyrim
Click to enlarge
Image via Gopher

Another very simple but effective mod, Immersive HUD, or iHUD, allows greater customisation of the heads-up display, allowing you to remove it when it's not necessary - and bring it back when it is. 

It's highly modular too, letting you choose what parts you want and don't want at any given time, making this one of the best mods for Skyrim if you're looking to clear parts of your screen away while exploring the world. 

Deadly Dragons

a dragon from the Deadly Dragons mod for Skyrim
Click to enlarge
Image via 3JIou and Redshift

Do you feel like dragons in Skyrim are a bit of a letdown? Deadly Dragons is here to remedy that by making them the world-shaking threat they're presented as in the lore. 

It overhauls the health and damage variables for dragons, while also adding new types to make every encounter with the flying creatures feel like a huge event. Your followers will likely suffer the effects of this, but what's an adventure without the risk of a companion dying?

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Best console mods for Skyrim

If you're a console gamer, have no fear, as there are some great mods for you too in Skyrim. Before we jump into the list, though, heed this, Dragonborn: The base edition of Skyrim for consoles is now the Skyrim Special Edition, so all of the mods you'll find in this section are compatible with that version.

Skyrim Special Edition Unofficial Patch

an image of the Skyrim Special Edition Unofficial Patch
Click to enlarge
Image via Unofficial Patch Project Team

The Unofficial Patch is a must-have console mod due to all the annoying bugs and glitches it fixes to make the game smoother. It's also compatible with basically every mod out there, and will make sure your playthrough goes off without a hitch.

Static Mesh Improvement

Much like the PC version of this mod, Static Mesh Improvement aims to upgrade the low-poly static objects in the game to make them of higher quality. 

Enhanced Lights and FX

Enhanced Lighting and FX mod for Skyrim on console
Click to enlarge
Image via anamorfus

Enhanced Lights and FX does what it says on the tin, improving the game's lighting system massively so that it's cast through windows, and so shadow falls more naturally. 

Relationship Dialogue Overhaul

Skyrim is often criticised for being as wide as an ocean but as deep as a puddle, and this mod aims to remedy aspects of that by reflecting the relationships that NPCs have with you by mixing and matching dialogue from the game.

Open Cities

Hate loading screens? Love seamless worlds? Open Cities is for you, as it allows players to head into cities without loading, making the game feel a bit more connected, well, and open.

The Parrthurnax Dilemma

the Paarthurnax Dilemma mod for Skyrim on console
Click to enlarge
Image via Arthmoor

When playing RPGs I like a wide variety of choice, and if there's one place Skyrim failed at that, it's the character of Parthurnax.

The Parthurnax Dilemma adds an alternative way for you to finish The Blades questline so that you don't need to kill the friendly dragon sitting atop the Throat of the World.

Immersive Patrols

Skyrim is at war and Immersive Patrols reflects that with more presence from the game's factions. You'll see Stormcloaks and Imperials patrolling their respective areas, and occasionally getting into fights as it's on sight between both armies.

Graphics Pack

Nowadays, Skyrim looks its age. That's where the Graphics Pack mod comes in, helping to make it look more modernised with higher resolution textures for a more immersive experience. 

Alternative Start - Live Another Life

If you're like me and have played Skyrim a few times (or a hundred) by now, you might be a little sick of the start of the game and want a new way to begin your experience.

Alternate Start lets you do this by allowing you to choose a background and city to start in, rather than having to experience Groundhog Day all over again.

Wolf Follower

image of the Wolf Follower mod for Skyrim
Click to enlarge
Image via hypno88

Dogs are cool, but wolves are even cooler. Wolf Followers gives you a chance to rescue a wolf called Buck and enlist him as a follower to come along with you through the game.

How to install mods in Skyrim for PC

For PC users, there are a few ways of installing and using mods for Skyrim, such as the Steam Workshop, a mod manager, or by manually replacing specific files in the installation folder yourself.

One of the easiest ways to download and install them is via the Skyrim Nexus site, by using the Vortex mod manager, which is my personal go-to because of how easy it makes modding.

I recommend making a clean install of Skyrim before you start modding, and make sure you have a backup copied somewhere - then you don't need to reinstall the game if something goes wrong.

an image of the Vortex mod manager app
Click to enlarge
Image via Nexusmods.com

It's worth noting that not all mods support Vortex, and the best thing to do is always follow the steps highlighted by the mod author themselves, but this should make things a bit easier to follow if you're new to modding.

  1. Start by downloading the Vortex mod manager here
  2. Once it has downloaded, open the app and authorise it by logging into your Nexus account
  3. You'll now see the Vortex dashboard, where you can click 'Select a game to manage'
  4. Vortex will automatically scan for installed games that it supports, so it will find Skyrim for you
  5. Once it locates the Skyrim install, select the image of it to enable mod management 
  6. Now you can begin managing mods, head back to the Nexus site and pick a mod
  7. Under the 'Files' tab, you will be able to select 'Mod Manager Download' when downloading a mod 
  8. Once the download is finished, you'll get a Vortex notification where you can click 'Install'
  9. After installing the mod, click 'Enable' to deploy the files to your Skyrim folder

If you're looking to install more, simply repeat the process above for all the other mods downloadable via Vortex. To check which mods you've got installed, you can select the 'Mods' button on the left-hand column within the Vortex app.

How to install mods in Skyrim for console

For console users, installing Skyrim mods is a more streamlined process that can be done from within the game itself:

  1. Head to the official Bethesda website and create an account
  2. Now load up Skyrim and from the main menu, select 'Mods', and log in
  3. Browse the mods list and select a mod you want
  4. Click 'Download' and install the mod
  5. Head back to the main menu, which causes the mods and data to load

an image of the Skyrim mods menu on console
Click to enlarge

Check out our Skyrim homepage for more guides. Alternatively, take a look at the best games like Skyrim or the best dragon games for more gaming recommendations, or our guide covering Skyrim Together Reborn to play multiplayer together with friends.

Tarran Stockton
About the author
Tarran Stockton
Tarran is a Senior Guides Writer at GGRecon. He previously wrote reviews for his college newspaper before studying Media and Communication at university. His favourite genres include role-playing games, strategy games, and boomer shooters - along with anything indie. You can also find him in the pit at local hardcore shows.
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