Luckily there are plenty of two-handed weapons to choose from in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, from powerful crafted items to unique pieces that must be obtained via quests.
I’ll rank the best of these below from good to great and give you all the information you need to get your hands on them and start smashing!
Note that I’ve included two items from the Saints & Seducers Creation in this list, which is included in Skyrim Anniversary Edition.
#8 Headsman’s Axe
I’m starting my list of the best two-handed weapons in Skyrim with one of the first weapons you encounter in the game – the one that almost ends your journey before it begins. The Headsman’s Axe is an unique weapon that is carried by only two characters: the Imperial Headsman in Helgen and Ahtar, the headsman in Solitude.
Not only is this weapon unique in its appearance, it also has the longest reach in the game, allowing you to sweep even larger swaths of enemies with your attacks. The downside is that those strikes only do 17 base damage, which is only one more than the basic Iron Battleaxe.
The only way to get this weapon is to get it from Ahtar, either by recruiting him as a follower and taking it from his inventory, by pickpocketing him, or by killing him and looting his body.
Next on my list is another unique weapon. This one has a much more formidable base damage of 25, putting it on par with the Daedric Battleaxe. Unlike its crafted counterpart, however, Wuuthrad has a unique enchantment: it does 1.2x damage to elves, including Altmer, Bosmer, Dunmer, and Falmer. This effect is not considered an enchantment, so you can also enchant the weapon with additional effects.
This battleaxe can be obtained by completing the Companions questline through Glory of the Dead, after which the weapon can be removed from the statue in Ysgramor’s Tomb. You can then freely enjoy this legendary weapon, complete with the screaming elf face at its center.
#6 Stalhrim Weapons
Technically, Stalhrim weapons are a step below Daedric, offering one less base damage. But the Stalhrim material offers a 25% bonus to any frost enchantments applied to them, which more than makes up the difference in the damage department. And as a bonus, they’re also really nice to look at.
Stalhrim is a special kind of icy ore that can only be found on the isle of Solstheim. You can purchase or loot Stalhrim weapons on the island. You can also craft them if you have the Ebony Smithing Perk, which requires a Smithing level of 80. You will also need to complete the quest A New Source of Stalhrim, which is offered by Deor Woodcutter in the Skaal Village. Then it’s just a matter of choosing whether you want a battleaxe, a greatsword, or a warhammer.
So far I’ve listed a couple of unique battleaxes, but now we have a unique warhammer. This weapon has a very unusual appearance to go with its very unusual backstory. It’s said to be the hammer that the province of Hammerfell was named after. It was crafted by the Dwemer, but is now an artifact of the Daedric Prince Malacath.
This weapon offers a base damage of 25, which is on par with the Ebony Warhammer, but also has a unique enchantment that absorbs 50 points of Stamina on a hit. That can keep you power attacking all day long. What’s more, the weapon has the swing speed of a greatsword, allowing you to deal much more damage in a shorter time than with most warhammers. You’ll also get lots of comments from guards who see you wielding it.
To get Volendrung, you’ll have to head to the Orcish stronghold of Largashbur in The Rift. There you must complete the quest chain The Cursed Tribe, at the end of which you’ll be given the weapon.
#4 The Longhammer
Like Volendrung, The Longhammer is a unique warhammer with a fast swing speed. While it only does 21 base damage, its 30% increased swing speed puts this weapon’s effective damage above that of a Daedric Warhammer. This effect is not considered an enchantment, so you can stack other enchantments on top of it. And with all that, you can get this weapon very early in the game if you know where to go.
To obtain The Longhammer, head to the Liar’s Retreat, a cave near Karthwasten in The Reach. You’ll have to fight your way through bandits and Falmer, and at the end of the cave you’ll find the weapon beside the body of its former owner, Rahd.
#3 Dragonbone Weapons
Dragonbone is the strongest material in the base game, offering base damage values of 25 to 28 for these two-handed weapons. These items can’t be found as loot or purchased from vendors – you’re the only one crazy enough to go around killing dragons. So if you want one of these weapons, you’ll have to make it yourself.
To do so, you’ll need to have the Dragon Armor perk in the Smithing tree, which requires a Smithing skill level of 100. Then you’ll just need to kill some dragons to collect their bones, and bring them to a forge along with some Ebony Ingots and Leather Strips. The amount you need of each depends on whether you want a battleaxe, a greatsword, or a warhammer.
#2 Amber Battleaxe or Warhammer
As awesome as Dragonbone is, if you have the Saints & Seducers Creation (which comes free with Skyrim Anniversary Edition), you’ll have access to some even better materials. The first of these is Amber, a special orange ore that originates on the Shivering Isles. This material offers a base damage value of 26 for the Amber Battleaxe and 28 for the Amber Warhammer. (There is no Amber Greatsword.)
To get your hands on some Amber, you’ll have to head into the Solitude Sewers or purchase the material from a Khajiit caravan trader. Then you’ll need the Glass Smithing perk, which requires a Smithing skill level of 70. Finally, you’ll have to read Evethra’s Journal, which requires following the Saints and Seducers quests to their conclusion, starting with Balance of Power from Ri’saad, a Khajiit trader. Then you’ll be able to craft Amber items, including these weapons.
#1 Madness Battleaxe or Greatsword
Concluding my list is another material from the Saints & Seducers Creation, which you’ll have if you purchased Skyrim Anniversary Edition. This ore is known as Madness, and just like Amber, it also originates in the Shivering Isles. Madness weapons have a twisted, wicked look about them, and the Battleaxe has a base damage value of 27 while the Greatsword has a base damage of 26, the highest in the game for each type. (There is no Madness Warhammer.)
This material is quite rare, but it can sometimes be found in boss chests in dungeons or purchased from Khajiit caravan traders. To craft with it, you’ll need to follow the same method as for Amber: obtain the Glass Smithing Perk, and read Evethra’s Journal at the end of the Saints and Seducers questline.