Fallout Armor Guide

Latest posts by Adam Braunstein (see all)

Fallout is an iconic franchise at this point that is easy on the level of any RPG out there. Despite the depressing nature of the game itself, Fallout has managed to create incredible game worlds that are both beautiful and horrifying to explore.

You would think that tons of games would try to give a post-nuclear war wasteland kind of game a shot, but there have only been a few other developers willing to take a wack at it, and none of them have come up with the epic hits that Fallout has over the years.

For me, Fallout is a sobering experience. While I love Bethesda’s other series, The Elder Scrolls, that world is far removed from our own. Fallout, on the other hand, is a depiction of a world that is scarily just a few button presses away when you think about it. There is something so real and visceral about the worlds created in this series, and that really makes exploring them for hours a singular gaming experience.

The worlds of Fallou have a look to them, and the people that inhabit share that quality. That’s partially because what they’re wearing in the days of the downfall of humanity is some of the most interesting-looking gear that you’ll find in any game available.

These people, including your character, have to make the most of the world they’re given, and the result is some crazy-looking equipment that’s more effective than you might imagine. Let’s check out all the kinds of armor Fallout has had throughout the years.

What Is Armor in Fallout?

Fallout has you fighting some of the most horrific and tough enemies you can imagine, and to survive these encounters, you need to pick up anything you can find and use it as armor. Armor servers as your defense system throughout the series and is often the only thing preventing a few bullets from being the end of you.

Throughout the game, you will come across many human enemies, and they will always be able to be looted for their equipment, and this includes armor. The more powerful your opponent is, the better their armor will generally be. For example, if you’re fighting a bunch of Raiders, the leader of the pack will generally have the best equipment available.

How Do You Put On Armor in Fallout Games?

Instead of your typical menu that most RPGs have, Fallout games utilize the Pip-Boy. This incredibly useful wrist interface can let you fast travel, equip weapons, take on quests and, yes, equip armor. Going into your pip-boy and selecting the equipment tab will bring up your armor selection, and from there, you can select whichever armor you’d like to wear.

Keep in mind that you will have multiple body parts to outfit with armor, so don’t get lazy and forget to armor up a part of you as you’ll notice very quickly how much less protected you will be.

How Does Armor Work in Fallout?

In the most recent games such as Fallout 4 and Fallout 76, armor has become more expanded upon than ever before, and your options for how you want your character equipped are now more numerous than ever. Fallout treats armor as two separate layers.


In the original Fallout, two things governed how effective your armor is. The statistic called Armor Class is one of the main stats in the game that can determine how much damage you take against a particular hit. You improve this throughout the game by leveling up, but also by wearing better and better kinds of armor.

The armor in Fallout has one slot available, and despite this being a game about aiming for specific body parts on enemies that might not be covered by armor, you only get one option for equipping it.

Because of that, all your armor covers every part of your body instead of separate pieces like the ones of the later games. Power Armor is the most powerful armor in the game and can resist all the different damage types in the game, but it also raises your weight substantially.

Fallout 2

Fallout 2 similarly handles armor to how Fallout does. Again, you have your Armor Class which is one of the three primary stats that determines what percentage of damage you take. Some of the armor in the game can lower the Armor Class you have while also raising your resistance to damage stats.

That means that while your ability to take damage goes down, you become way easier for enemies to hit. Different armor types in the game have very specific uses, so while some armor may be very effective against things like energy weapons, they can be completely useless against melee weapons. Power Armor is the star of the show here and is the only armor in the game that is highly resistant against all kinds of ammo and damage types.

Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel

Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel uses the Armor Class category again to determine partially how much damage you can take. Each armor piece has a few categories to determine what the damage you take from enemies will be. You have damage resistance and damage threshold. Both of these go into how much your armor absorbs before you start taking damage directly.

With this being a tactics-based game, you also had cover protecting you at times from oncoming damage, and the correct combination of armor and team positioning could lessen the total damage taken during the game.

Fallout 3

Fallout 3 got rid of the way that armor was treated in the previous game, and instead of focusing on individual resistances to ballistics, melee, and energy weapons, instead, things were streamlined for the mainstream audience Bethesda was trying to reach. Armor in Fallout 3 grants damage resistance up to 85%.

That means the best armor in the game will completely absorb 85% of the damage you receive. Different perks in the game will affect the armor percentage you can defend against in different ways, and through the right combination, you can absorb up to 94% of damage.

Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout: New Vegas introduced the term damage threshold into the armor system. This adds to the already established damage resistance stat, although it’s mostly overwritten.

How it works is the damage resistance of armor comes before the damage threshold, granting you two layers of protection with your armor.

Once the damage resistance is covered, your damage threshold determines how much more the armor can take before you take the brunt of the damage.

Fallout 4 and Fallout 76

Base Layer

In Fallout 4 and Fallout 76, you’re given 9 slots for your armor and two layers to work with. Gone are the turn-based systems of the past games, and instead, combat was fully real-time, and the armor became more varied than ever, though it lessened the need to use specific armors at specific times.

Both the effects of the lower layer equipment and the armor layer of equipment will be reflected on your character, so don’t worry about effects getting overwritten just because they’re on a shirt instead of a suit of armor.

The base layer of your armor will revolve around things like pants, glasses, backpacks, hats, and other items that are generally just considered clothing in our world. In Fallout, these items are used as the last resort of defense when it comes to combat.

Armor Layer

When it comes to defending against the big threats in the Fallout world like Deathclaws and other horrors, you need the real stuff. Armor comes in many different forms, and it’s broken down into multiple pieces on your body.

You can outfit yourself in armor for your chest, right arm, left arm, right leg, left leg, and head. There is also armor that takes up multiple sports at once, which renders the rest of your equipped armor useless, although there is usually a benefit to doing so.

Each armor piece you can acquire generally has some kind of special attribute to it, such as increased ballistic resistance or an increase in health while wearing it. You can combine all of these stats to create some incredible equipment. You can also apply armor mods to most pieces of equipment you have, and these serve to further your protection even more.

Power Armor

While you can stock up on all the armor you’d like, on occasion, there will be nothing powerful enough to withstand the might of such enemies like the Behemoth or an enemy wielding the mini-nuke launcher known as the Fat Man.

Much like normal armor, Power Armor comes in a bunch of different varieties as well. You can also wear your normal equipment while inside the Power Armor as well. One thing to note is that anything worn on the lower layers of your equipment will not be effective while in the Power Armor, and all of those bonuses will go away.

Power armor has multiple pieces, just like the regular gear in Fallout games, and you will be able to mix and match here as well. 

Tips For Using Armor in Fallout

Prioritize The Good Stuff

Armor is an absolute necessity to have on you when braving the wilds of the Fallout worlds, but one thing to keep in mind is that these pieces of equipment are very heavy, and in Fallout, you’ve got a weight limit to keep in check.

What I’ve generally seen throughout these games is that although it’s plentiful, the majority of equipment dropped by Raiders in the armor department is usually pretty weak and unless there is a special ability attached to it or it grants some crazy bonuses, let it fall by the wayside.

Use Different Armor for Different Occasions

Depending on the game you are playing, your armor can have some different uses. For example, in the real-time combat Fallout games, the better the armor rating is, the better it is to wear in pretty much all circumstances.

That’s not the case with the turn-based games of the early days of Fallout, though, as certain armors would work better against certain kinds of weapons. Feeling out your enemies before engaging them is very important to success in these games so you can equip yourself properly.

Fight The Strongest Enemies

The armor you want to look for is the unique piece that only drops once throughout the game. That’s easier said than done, and to find such pieces, you’re going to have to fight some seriously tough battles. The hardest enemies generally drop the best stuff in each game, though, so the reward is usually worth the struggle. 

Recurring Armor in Fallout

Armor in Fallout games comes in various classifications, and depending on where you are in the game, you will find yourself getting different kinds of armor.

In the early parts of Fallout games, the armor you’ll find will be of the modest variety, looking as if it’s put together in a backroom 10 minutes before you walked into a Raider hideout.

Others though are incredibly useful and will be very important to utilize on your journey. 

Raider Armor

In most Fallout games, Raiders are among the first enemies you will come across. They are made up of humans that are doing whatever it takes to survive in this cruel and crazy world, and they are decked out in armor that is incredibly vulnerable and usually made up of spikes and bent pieces of metal that do little to nothing to protect them from you.

In the earlier games in the series, Raider armor was very specific in its usage, and while it couldn’t handle taking on the late game damage enemies could dish out, it did have very good melee resistance and therefore could have its uses in specific missions.

Leather Armor

Leather armor is generally looked at as the second level of armor you’ll find in the Fallout games. In most of the games, you will find that leather armor provides incredibly efficient energy weapon resistance while ultimately lacking a bit in the ballistic department.

Metal Armor

The midway point of the game means that the equipment is getting better alongside your character. The medium-level armor is going to come to you in the form of metal armor. With metal armor, you get great bullet resistance at the risk of lower energy resistance.

In the turn-based games of the series like Fallout, and Fallout 2, Metal armor was among the best you could find at a reasonable price and would provide heavy ballistic resistance as well as being able to resist melee attacks.

Combat Armor

Heading into tier 3 of armor in the Fallout universe, combat armor takes the cake when it comes to a well-rounded piece of equipment. Combat armor essentially takes the leather armor and the Raider armor and combines them into one fierce equipment type. It has some great energy and ballistics resistance, making it one of the best armors you can find.

Unique Armor in Fallout Games

In every Fallout game, you will come across some armor that is unique to each game. These may be aesthetic pieces that represent the environment the game is taking place in or it might be armor that is acquired via defeating specific bosses in each game. Let’s take a look at some of the unique pieces you can find.


  • Hardened Power Armor

Fallout 2

  • Bridge Keepers Robes
  • Advanced Power Armor
  • Metal Armor MKII

Fallout Tactics: Brotherhood of Steel

  • Environmental Armor
  • Greater Banding
  • Ghoul Armor
  • Devilthorn Jacket
  • Plating Mutant Armor
  • Spiked Mutant Armor

Fallout 3

  • Winterized T-51 Power Armor
  • Eulogy Jones’ Suit
  • Linden Outcast Power Armor
  • Chinese Stealth Armor
  • Prototype Medic Power Armor

Fallout: New Vegas

  • Legate’s Armor
  • T-45D Power Armor
  • Gannon Family Tesla Armor
  • Stealth Suit MK II
  • Elite Riot Gear

Fallout 4

  • Silver Shroud Costume
  • Minutemen General’s Uniform
  • Black Ops Armor
  • Maxon’s Battlecoat
  • Macready’s Duster
  • Overseer’s Armor
  • Synth Armor

Fallout 76

  • Forest Scout Armor
  • Marine Armor
  • Trapper Armor
  • Botsmith Armor
  • Wood Armor

Armor Degradation

In some of the Fallout games, the RPG element is more emphasized than others, and because of that, you’ll have to maintain your equipment.

For example, in Fallout 76, you will constantly need to keep your armor in check as to when you battle with it; it gets less and less effective until it gets down to a condition of zero, at which point it then breaks.

If this happens, don’t worry, you haven’t lost your precious equipment; it’s just in need of series repair, and taking the armor to an armor workbench will allow you to repair it using scraps.

Where do you Find Armor in Fallout?

Finding armor in Fallout is thankfully pretty simple. During the game, you will visit dozens of different hideouts and caves and such, and within each of these are countless hidden rooms, chests, cabinets, and lockers to explore. Sometimes, you’ll just get lucky and come across an incredible piece of armor in a random place. Other times, you will find armor as a reward at the end of a particularly tough dungeon.

The best way to get the armor in Fallout games, though, is by looting it off the corpses of your enemies. Sure, it’s a dark method to acquire such a thing, but Fallout is a nasty word, and only the strong survive. 

You should also be checking the various merchants you’ll come across in the series. The best armor will cost you a ton of Caps, but it’s generally worth the money.

How to Equip Armor on your Companions

When you get a companion in Fallout, their base equipment is usually pretty bad compared to the massive collection you’ve likely acquired. Luckily, we get to share the wealth, and pretty much any gear we have, including armor, can be transferred over to your companion at any time.

Some companions cannot equip every item. For example, if you have an animal or mutant as your companion, they need specific items titled as such. In Fallout 4, Dogmeat can only wear dog armor, and the same goes for any Super Mutants you might recruit.

You can add armor and other equipment to your companions by talking to them and giving them what you want them to wear.

In older games in the series, this was not as wieldy as a process, and to equip armor, you had to go into your inventory, select the armor slot you want to fill and then select the piece you want to wear.

If you wanted to equip your companions with armor, you had to talk to your companions, then go to the combat control option and select “Use best armor.” This will cause them to equip the best armor they have available or that you’ve given to them.

The issue is that the armor won’t be shown on their character as it is in other games, but as long as you have this option selected, your companion will be wearing the best possible equipment.

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Question: What’s the best armor in Fallout?

Answer: Depending on the game you’re playing, you’re usually going to want to get your hands on anything the Brotherhood of Steel is wearing as they’re the strongest force in the series from game to game. In the early games, the Tesla armor was the big prize of the game, though, and it would let you resist the damage of the ultra-strong energy weapons. 

Question: Do you have to wear armor in Fallout?

Answer: You don’t have to, but the game is going to be significantly tougher for you if you refuse to for some reason. Occasionally, players like the aesthetics of their clothes over the armor, but there’s, unfortunately, no transmogrification system in the Fallout games.

Question: Which is the best Fallout game?

Answer: For me, it’s Fallout 3. It was my first Fallout game, and it gripped me completely, giving me a darker RPG to play through than any other game I can remember.


The armor of Fallout games is some of the most imaginative in all of gaming. With that imagination comes a ton of complexity on how the different items work, so I hope this Fallout Armor guide was able to clear some things up for you, and you’ll be ready to create your unstoppable wasteland warrior now without any hesitation.

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