In the zombie apocalypse presented by Project Zomboid, you’re dropped right in the middle of an undead-filled Kentucky town in 1992. Swarmed on all sides by zombies, you’ll need to pick up some weapons fast in order to put them down. That’s why today we’re focusing on the best melee weapon for each category in Project Zomboid.
But with so many options around you, and so many different skill trees to specialize in, where do you even start? We’ll go through each melee weapon category in Project Zomboid and cover the strengths/weaknesses of each one. By the end, you’ll be hacking and smashing through every zombie in a blood-covered frenzy for survival.
Let’s get started.
Table of Contents
Best Long Blunt Weapon in Project Zomboid
If you choose to specialize in long blunt weapons, you’ll want to take either the baseball player or the brawler trait. Brawler is good if you plan on using a hand axe as your secondary, belt-carried sidearm, but takes more points than the baseball player trait. A huge advantage to taking these specialized traits is that you will gain a huge XP boost to whatever skills they boost initially, which is ultimately much more valuable than the small initial gain you get from them.
The baseball bat is the go-to melee weapon for many zombie slayers in Project Zomboid. It’s light, durable, and powerful. If you have multi-hit enabled you can strike two zombies at once with it. It does a bit more damage than most other weapons, hitting anywhere between 0.8 and 1.1 damage, and also strikes from further away than most, capable of hitting a home run from 1.5 meters away.
You can also upgrade the baseball bat into a spiked bat by adding five nails with a hammer. This brings the damage up to a range of 1 to 1.5. The only downside to adding nails to your bat is that it does reduce the maximum durability, but you can also repair it by just adding more nails. Nails tend to be abundant in neighborhood garages and tool sheds.
Tied with the baseball bat for the best long blunt weapon would be the crowbar. It has the highest durability in the game with 1050 points of durability, helping it last three times longer than a baseball bat if you find one at max durability. The downside is that crowbars can’t be repaired, so you will eventually need to replace them. Luckily, this is easily done by seeking crowds of zombies, where you will occasionally find crowbars impaled within them.
An advantage to having a crowbar over a baseball bat is that it has several other uses as a tool. First off, you can use it to pry off the boards that you might find barricading what are known as “survivor houses”. These are usually stockpiles of various resources you’ll want, like guns and ammo, rare weapons, canned food, and high-defense clothing. So it’s worthwhile to carry a crowbar at least in the trunk of your car while you’re out looting, so you can bust into these places and take what you can.
Crowbars do less damage on average than a bat with nails but have a whopping 6X critical multiplier, so on occasion, they do a lot more damage than a bat would. This makes them better for smaller crowds than larger ones.
Best Short Blunt Weapon in Project Zomboid
The best weapons for characters that want to specialize in short blunt weapons, like characters with the powerful construction worker occupation that provides 3 starting skills and a huge XP boost, have to be either the hammer class of weapons or the nightstick.
Hammers are undoubtedly one of the best utility weapons in the game, being necessary for carpentry and some other crafting opportunities. They also do a decent amount of damage to a door if you need to bust one down in a pinch, although not nearly as much as the axe family of weapons. Their range is short and their damage is relatively low, ranging from 0.5 to 1 with every strike. However, they also have a 30% critical chance for a 3X critical, better than many of their competition.
Hammers come in five varieties, three of which are useful for crafting, and two of which we’d actually recommend even bothering to pick up. A stone hammer is good for carpentry in a pinch, but its combat stats are much worse than the others. A club hammer can’t be used for carpentry, but also has worse stats than the two other hammers, the ball-peen hammer, and the basic, no-adjectives-required hammer.
Alternatively for the short blunt skill tree, you could use a nightstick. Compared to a hammer, these are more durable, with a higher range and a slightly higher damage range of 0.6 to 1.1. They have a lower critical chance and multiplier in exchange. Night sticks are abundant among police officer zombies and thus are a decent semi-renewable weapon. The downsides compared to a hammer are that they can’t be used for crafting, and they also can’t be repaired after they’ve taken some damage, so you’ll need to throw them away when you’re done.
Best Short Blade Weapon in Project Zomboid
If you’ve taken occupations like the chef or doctor, or perhaps picked up the hunter trait, you’ll want to keep a knife on your belt at all times. Naturally, the best knife of choice for that will be the hunting knife. It fulfills the utility function you need from your knives, allowing you to cut up bread or various other food items into smaller portions, as well as allowing you to craft spears and other items that require a sharp edge.
Short blades have a special unique attack that can only be performed while holding one and results in an instant kill of whatever zombie it’s performed against. For this reason, they’re best used against individual zombies, and preferably when you get a chance to sneak up behind them or hit them from another angle they don’t see coming. Beware though, there is a small chance with every instant-kill jaw strike that your knife will get embedded in the zombie and need to be extracted, making this weapon a risky gamble for taking on a whole crowd of zombies.
With the best damage, durability, range, and other stats in its class, the hunting knife is definitely the best melee weapon for short blade-specialized players in Project Zomboid. You can find them in places like gun shops, but also frequently embedded in zombies wandering the mean streets of Kentucky, especially out in the more rural sections of the game. You can even find hunter zombies that have one on their belts.
Best Axe Weapon in Project Zomboid
Axes are an excellent utility weapon, and among all the melee weapons you can start with the highest skill in them right off the bat if you choose to be a lumberjack for your occupation, and invest in enough negative traits that you can take the brawler trait as well. This lets you begin the game with four whole skill points in axes and a massive boost to your XP gain in them as well. A more broadly focused firefighter occupation also gets a boost to axes.
There are five weapons in the axe class, the relatively utility-focused stone axe, the heavy damage and slow swinging wood axe, a pickaxe with slow swings and a super high critical damage multiplier, a hand axe you can tuck into your belt loops, and a basic fire-fighter style axe. Of the four, the only two worth using in a combat situation are the basic axe and the hand axe.
The basic axe provides the most balanced distribution of stats and can chop down the front door of most buildings in the game with just three swings. This let’s you just walk right in at the cost of making a lot of noise for your undead friends, but you can just wipe out nearby ones with said axe.
In comparison, the wood axe is just far too slow to be used safely against lots of zombies, although it is the absolute best at chopping down trees or doors. Likewise for the pickaxe, although it will fare better in a fight than the wood axe due to its high crit chance and damage.
Hand axes are one of the best sidearms in the game, giving you the utility of being able to bust through doors quickly or chop wood in the event of a cold night or cooking emergency. While they’re a bit lackluster in combat, they barely take up any space/weight and provide so much utility that we had to include them as an option for those who don’t want to carry a basic axe.
Best Long Blade Weapon in Project Zomboid
Undoubtedly the coolest and simultaneously most powerful melee weapons belong to the long blade weapon class in Project Zomboid. This class of weapons is also the only category of melee weapons that doesn’t have any occupations or traits that enhance your abilities with them. This is likely because even a completely unskilled user with these weapons will decimate a crowd of zombies if they pace themselves properly.
The katana does a whopping 8 damage per swing, every swing, making it the deadliest weapon in the game by far. For reference, the heavy sledgehammer that swings very slowly still caps out at 3 maximum damage. So you can see the katana truly possesses unparalleled destructive power when it comes to taking down hordes of zombies.
The catch for all of this is that the katana is one of the rarest items in the game. You’re unlikely to find one without going into a gun store, a Louisville pawn shop, or a boarded-up survivor house. After sixty days in the game, there is an incredibly slim chance that you’ll find one impaled into a zombie.
The only other weapon in the category is the machete, which fills a more utilitarian niche. It can chop trees and doors and still likely one-shot a zombie if they get near you. It can also be used with one hand so you can keep a flashlight in the other.
The downside of using long blades at all is that by the time you’ve trained yourself up to use them, guns will have become very accessible, and either long blade will take up the same slot on your back that a long gun like a rifle or a shotgun would have.
Best Spear Weapon in Project Zomboid
Crafted Spear (with Machete)
Spears are the only weapons in the game that are usually crafted by the player instead of found in the world, although they can sometimes be found inside survivors’ houses. Basic wooden spears become decent enough weapons once your maintenance skill gets higher, but the real key to the spear is their special ability.
You can charge individual zombies from a distance away and score an instant kill by running them through with your spear. This tactic needs to be timed well to keep you out of trouble, but the range and special abilities of a spear make it well worth the practice. You can also go fishing with one if you can’t get ahold of a rod!
The best item to strap to the front of your spear is the machete, befitting how rare it is to find one. This will take some duct tape but will massively increase the maximum durability of your spear, along with the damage it does with every strike.
Join the High Ground
Out of every weapon you can find in Project Zomboid, picking the “best” ones can be tough without knowing exactly what situation you find yourself in. But in general, this short list is made of pretty accessible weapons and lets you know what items you can definitely ignore. So grab your crowbar, hold out for that katana, and don’t forget to take the higher ground- if you dare!
We hope you found our guide useful and have armed yourself with the best melee weapon for your situation in Project Zomboid. If you think we should include another weapon on our list or have any more questions, then leave a comment below!
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