The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

124 ratings
MODDING SKYRIM - The Best mods for Skyrim+How to install them
By insane0hflex
This guide is for modding Skyrim with the best, most essential, must have mods. The guide will cover how to install them, and what mods are the best for almost every category of the game (house mods, magic mods, graphic mods, texture mods, User interface mods, weapon mods, armor mods, and more)
Getting Started
This post is meant to help new and old players alike, and feel free to share the link of this post with anyone else that has questions about Skyrim mods. Especially those that are switching from the Xbox/PS3 to the PC .


To install most of these mods - get the [Nexus Mod Manager - NMM] . It's an easy-to-use program to download, install and uninstall mods with a click of a button although with certain script intensive mods, you NEED to read their individual uninstallation procedure .

If you don't like the Skyrim Nexus, a majority of the mods in this post are also available on the Steam Workshop.

Then, get [BOSS] - to keep your mods properly "load-ordered", to improve performance and reduce CTDs due to improper mod load order. Install your mods with NMM, then after that run BOSS to sort the mods.

Next, you will need Skyrim Script Extender SKSE . [Download SKSE here]

If you're interested in seeing daily Skyrim mod videos about the latest and greatest mods for Skyrim new and old , [here's my YouTube channel] .

If you'd like to see these mods in action - here's my "hardcore", realism playthrough:

[GophersVids] is another great resource for learning about mods. Gopher does a weekly mod video series and Let's Play Skyrim series.

*Please remember to endorse any mod you download and if you enjoy it - its a way of giving thanks to a modder's hard work. I bookmark the pages of the mods I download, that way I remember to endorse the mod after a hour.*
User Interface Mods (absolutely essential!)
At the very least get these mods, even *before* you play Skyrim for the first time.

Please watch see video and/or see the video's description for the mods you'll need to get to really enhance the User Interface (UI) of Skyrim for the best possible experience.

Included mods are SkyUI, iHUD, CFM, Better Quest Objectives, and more.
Unofficial Skyrim, Dawnguard and Hearthfire Patches
These all are community made patches for fixing bugs/issues with Skyrim, Dawnguard and Hearthfire. May increase performance and reduce crashes. Strongly Recommended.

Unofficial Skyrim Patch

Unofficial Dawnguard Patch

and Unofficial Hearthfire Patch
Graphics, Textures and Visual Enhancing Mods
For faces: Download and install XCE - No More Blocky Faces , then download+install Mackom's Real Skin for Men , then download+install Nuska's Real Skin for Women . If asked to overwrite files from XCE - No More Blocky Faces - say Yes.

Optional: [Ethereal Elven Overhaul] - This mod revamps the Elven head shape to give it a more human, natural look.

[Apachii Sky Hair] - The most commonly used hair mod. Adds dozens of new, high-quality hairstyles to males and females.

Video of Apachii Sky Hair

Crimson Tide - A mod that that overhauls blood within the game, better textures, on-hit blood spray effects, blood pools on the ground, and more, makes melee combat more visceral.

Video of Crimson Tide

An ENB mod - The ENB mod adds depth of field, godrays, detailed shadows and shadow fixes, SSAO, bloom, and more. Medium-High FPS impact. Here are my 3 top picks.

Enhanced Motion Picture ENB

The Wilds ENB 3.0

or Project MATSO ENB

Alternatives to ENB, for those that don't have good PCs
- Dynavision - simulates Depth of Field
- Imaginator - tweak the colors/constrast+more in game

Climates of Tamriel - Weather system overhaul mod for Skyrim, with hundreds of new weather patterns/systems. Also makes dungeons darker. If you use this mod, I'd recommend using a CoT themed ENB or just imaginator+dynavision.

Enhanced Lights and FX - Overhauls the lights in Skyrim to create a dramatic and realistic mood.

Video of EL&FX

Radiant and Unique Potions and Poisons HD - adds custom labels to all potions and poisons in Skyrim and then get Booze Bottles HD - Replaces the textures of alcoholic beverages with a unique and great looking label.

Skyrim Mod Collection: Enhanced Distant Terrain and other Distant Detail Mods - This video is like the UI collection one, but enhances the distant LOD/view objects and details of Skyrim to look a ton better than the vanilla game.

Skyrim 2K HD or Skyrim Realistic Overhaul - My favorite 2 "HD Texture Overhauls" of Skyrim. Both are good on their own, but you can combine them both with Texture Pack Combiner for the best experience possible.

Vurt's Floral Overhaul , makes the plants trees, flowers, grass of Skyrim photo-realistic and more varied.

W.A.T.E.R. - overhauls the waters in Skyrim - fixing flow, better textures, etc.

Static Mesh Improvement Mod - SMIM - This mod fixes a lot of UV mapping mesh errors, and even adds some new 3d models in!
Immersion and Realism Mods
A Quality World Map - With Roads - Adds the roads, trails, and paths of Skyrim to the World Map.

Birds and Flocks and SkyBirds - Adds many birds across Skyrim that make you feel Skyrim is inhabited with more wildlife, other than just saber cats, bandits, and bears.

Clanking Armor - Adds a metallic "clanking" noise when you walk/run/sprint, when you are wearing heavy armor or heavy armor boots like iron, daedric, dwarven, etc.

*Footprints - Now when you walk in snow, you leave a footprint behind!

Get Snowy - When its snowing, snow now shows on your armor/skin and other NPCs around you too!

No Spinning Death Animation - removes the unnatural spinning death animation that happens when you or NPCs die, and replaces it with a realistic ragdoll.

Player Headtracking - Your character turns his/her head to look at other NPCs when they are talking, passing by, and more. Great immersion mod when in 3rd person.

Wet and Cold - NPCs will equip rain hoods when its raining and head for cover, when NPCs are out in cold climates their breath has a "steam" effect, they wear gloves and hoods, and more. Check out isoku's SkyrimNexus profile for more cool immersion mods, such as his Rainbows and Shooting Stars mods.
Gameplay Mods
Frostfall - Ultimate survival roleplaying mod. Recommended for hardcore realism players. Basic premise is that you'll need to prepare yourself for the cold, extreme climates of Skyrim - making fires, keeping warm, and not freezing to death. Frostfall 2.0 video coming soon.

Alternate Start - Live Another Life - This mod gives you a variety of choices for a new playthrough. Instead of starting in Helgen - You'll start in a cell where you'll customize your character (race,gender,face,etc), then you'll choose an unique start other than the Helgen/vanilla intro sequence.

Apocalypse Spell Package - My favorite magic mod. Adds over 170+ fair and balanced spells across each school of magic. A must have for mages and spellswords. Well, any class really.

Dance of Death - Dance of Death adds many new killmove animations across almost all weapon types. You can also configure the killmove chance to 100%, only beheading killmoves, and enable killmoves even if its not the last NPC alive, and more.

Convenient Horses - Tons of new awesome features for horses, including armor, mounted looting+talking, mounted combat for NPC followers, and more. Video coming soon.
Best Armor and Weapon Mods
Immersive Armors by hothtrooper44 - Tons of great lore friendly armor items are added by this excellent mod, by hothtrooper44 who is very well known for his great armor mods.

Xenius Armor Compilation - XAC - XAC adds several armors that are non-skimpy and look amazing on females, this mod is perfect for those that play as a female character, but want protective, feminine looking armor.

Bandolier - Increase your carry weight capacity by crafting various bags and pouches that you can wear. Great for hoarders, or people that want to personalize their character model.

Frank Dema Travel Backpack is another cool "backpack" type mod, too.

Cloaks of Skyrim - Adds dozens of cloaks to NPCs and the crafting menu. Fantastic mod.

More northern, "realistic" alternative cloak mod - Winter is Coming

Immersive Weapons - Adds over 200 new lorefriendly weapons (most of them are from other smaller weapon mods, so consider this a "community weapon mod compilation").
Follower Mods
Follower Overhaul Mod:

UFO - Ultimate Follower Overhaul - Have more than 1 follower, set followers to essential, see their skills, etc - see video for more info.

Video of UFO by Gopher

Best followers (only use one or two though, not all):

Hoth - A Follower by Hothtrooper44 - Hoth is a grizzly, old bounty hunter bad ♥♥♥, and my favorite follower mod. He has custom voice acting, and can give you quests too (Bounty Quests), so there's always something to do with him.

Companion Vilja - Vilja is a highly detailed custom follower mod - she has her own quest, backstory, and voiced dialogue.

Odvar the Afflicted - A more humor-themed follower. Spits bile at his foes, and has amaaaazing custom voice acting too.

Atvir Dres - Night Elf male follower with custom voiced dialogue (well done too).

Companion Valfar - Valfar is a passionate Stomcloak warrior - uses Galmar Stonefist's voice
Player Home Mods
Limbwood Manor - A player home treehouse, wrapped around/inside a big tree

Grey Ledge Manor - Great medium-sized player home located in the worldspace so no loading doors or interior cells to load. Simply walk right into your house! Also includes a blacksmith merchant and all the player home essentials.

Forgotten Windmill - A great player home with one of the best views in Skyrim - packed with details and functionality.

Windmill Shelter - Another small compact home with everything you need. No clutter and placed in a great location in the Rift.

Briar's End - A lovely cramped but cozy player home, built into big tree stump.
Other Resources to Utilize
G.E.M.S. - Gameplay Enhancement Mods for Skyrim

A website with links to 500+ mods, updated daily, with gameplay related mods - ranging from immersion mods to user interface mods to magic mods, etc.

STEP Project

Alternative to this post, mainly for graphics/visuals. I haven't used it, but heard many positive things about it.

Thanks for reading!

This list will also be updated from time to time, but this post should keep you busy for a while =)

Note: I don't personally use the Steam Workshop - hence the lack of Steam Workshop mods/links, but most of the mods listed here can be found on SteamWorkshop. I think the Nexus Mod Manager is easier and it let's you have greater control over your mods.
< >
Arct1c Matrix Aug 29, 2014 @ 11:48am 
Also i use Multple follower lite for multiple followers i find that to work better with me ufo doesnt give me a good experience
Arct1c Matrix Aug 29, 2014 @ 11:47am 
I'm suprised no sexual mods for this i never was a fan of the nudity mods
luckman Feb 15, 2014 @ 10:53pm 
Thanx, great info even for'm from the jurassic era
richard.j09 Dec 1, 2013 @ 2:18pm 
great info.whats best,: in launcher data menu are 3 dlc esm's but no skyrim.esm, game runs ok, but shouldnt skyrim.esm be there. can i just reinstall from cd or is it ok as it is, i'm not sure, & or will doing anything cause any problems with game in play(savegame) any ideas ?.
Spaz McBomb Aug 21, 2013 @ 10:15pm 
Great guide except that it forgot to list the Unofficial Patch for Dragonborn. I spent 2 days with a dragon glitch where I could not absorb dragon souls that was driving me mad. Found out it was the only patch missing from this guide.
DiGiTaL CLeaNeR May 4, 2013 @ 1:14am 
The first mod you want to install if you have Dawnguard is "Castle Volkihar Redux" here on the steam workshop.
livingbetter55 Apr 13, 2013 @ 8:46pm 
Thanks so much and i am in the process of endorsing everything you and others do need to check it all out first in game lol
tonycoolmen Mar 5, 2013 @ 2:37am 
jolena72 Feb 23, 2013 @ 10:42am 
It`s a fine thing. And for me it is very helpful. Thank you for creating this cool guide!
BigBadSam Feb 18, 2013 @ 3:03pm 
This was so helpful!!! Thanks for posting this.