All Fallout 76 Power Armors Ranked

Hunting down elusive bottles of Nuka Cola… IN STYLE.

Power Armor. It’s an icon of the Fallout series - a huge set of armor plates, servos, and everything a vault-dweller needs to survive the aftermath of the Great War. But as you’ll find, not all Power Armor is equal. You’ll also find - rather quickly at that - that PA can save your life, if you use it right.


All resistances, damage reduction, et al are going to be quoted at level 50 (max) levels as a base. Weapons and armor in Fallout 76 can generally (but not in every case) be crafted as low as level 5. Most Power Armor starts at 15, and some are restricted to level 50. Because you can rank up to level 50 in a matter of weeks from the start of the game (you can even jump straight to level 20 as of a December 2023 patch), we’re using max level as our base level since you’ll see it for the longest.


It’s the Best Tank-Type Armor - But It Isn’t Perfect

An important note on PA. While it does offer significant boosts all around to damage resistance, elemental resistances in general, disease resistance and immunity, and carry weight, it leaves you vulnerable in a couple of ways. 

A couple of quick terms:

  • DR is damage resistance (melee, bullet, missile)
  • ER is energy resistance (laser guns, sometimes flamer-types)
  • RR is radiation resistance (ambient radiation, and attacks by certain creatures - such as ghouls)
  • PR is poison resistance (acid)
  • FR is fire resistance (sometimes flamer types, other times just molotov-style fire)
  • CR is cryo (ice) resistance (ice weapons? I can’t think of anything that actually uses it that you can resist)
  • BAL is ballistic (bullet, missile) resistance 
  • PA is just ‘power armor’
  • FC is Fusion Cores

What we’re warning about:

  • You have to be level 25 to equip PA; you cannot wear it before then.
  • Every suit of Power Armor requires a Power Armor frame. You cannot craft this; it has to be found. They are scattered across the wasteland and you can swap pieces out as you see fit so ultimately you only ‘need’ one frame in your inventory at a time.
  • With exceptions, PA is generally used as an ‘endgame’ style armor. The good news is that the endgame arrives very quickly.
  • PA requires Fusion Cores to run. While you can wear it without them, you will suffer a major movement speed, AP use, and jump debuff. Late in the game, FCs aren’t hard to find; early on, they’re worth a pretty penny.
  • This is not what you wear to sneak. Can you be hidden? Yes. For very long? No.
  • You don’t have a lot of movement speed - you can sprint, but there’s a brief ramp up/ramp down. You can jump, but unless you have the marsupial mutation (which I 1000% recommend) or a jet pack (which I also recommend), you won’t be jumping far.
  • There’s a bug that sometimes triggers when you’re entering and exiting PA that can prevent you from moving… at all… or doing literally anything until the server catches up to you.
  • You do need to juggle your Perk Cards appropriately; PA is HEAVY, so you won’t go far unless you take Portable Power, Demo Expert for all of your explosive heavy weapons, Stabilized for Heavy Weapon damage, and Fireproof are all more or less mandatory.

But the non-perk-card perks:

  • Power Armor helms render you immune to airborne disease.
  • Power armor as a set renders you immune to water-based disease. 
  • Power Armor is built for Heavy Gun usage; Stabilized (among others) will grant your Heavy Guns major bonuses.
  • Several sets of Power Armor grant additional carry weight; Calibrated Shocks leg mods will add more, too!
  • You look hella cool.

Lastly, a Bit of Math. Again.

Base Power Armor values are below. But the base of any power armor build - minus my adorable, battle-weary head - is above!


At base, Power Armor (regardless of type) offers damage resistance of X value (dependent on piece) and a BASE damage reduction of 42% with 90% radiation damage reduction. 


Before you read the ranking, a quick note. Damage resistance and mitigation in Fallout 76 is calculated on what’s effectively a sliding scale. Your resistances are going to be based off of the actual stats on the armor, some of your perk cards, some of your base S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats, and then off of the stats of whatever is shooting or biting you. That said, you’re not here for extended calculations.


I mention this because once you hit a certain point - somewhere around 300pts of Damage Resistance (ballistic weapons and melee and 300pts of Energy Resistance - then you’re going to notice that you’re not resisting (mitigating) as much as you’d expect. From that point on, you’re trying to increase your damage ‘reduction.’

Again, that’s a lot of words with complicated meanings and we both know you’d rather just go shoot things.


I do have a point though:

By the time you get into T-60/65, Ultracite, Hellcat, or Union, it’s… honestly it’s not going to matter that much. Do not stress over, “Oh Josh says that Hellcat is better than T-45, I MUST HAVE IT!” Because honestly?


You don’t. The only Power Armor I recommend stressing over is Union, and for one specific reason. Everything else works incredibly well in 90% of the situations you’ll find yourself in. Some (Excavator) will leave you a little squishier than T-65, but when you’re facing down against the Scorchbeast Queen or Earle, a few extra points of mitigation isn’t going to be the deciding factor on if you live or die (most of the time).


I am a big, big fan of ensuring that casual players don’t panic over a game that doesn’t really have a hardcore endgame to it. This isn’t Aion or EverQuest 2; armor progression is not that big of a deal. Trust me, and let’s get into every suit below to find one we like.


Except Raider. Because Raider is… number 11.


Oh, and one thing? If you want to get to the armor that’s worth noting - jump straight to number 5. Prior to that - and at this stage in Fallout 76’s lifespan as a product -  everything else is armor that exists for the sake of giving players something to get.


11. Raider

Fallout: Beyond Thunderdome.

See the Raider Power Armor in action!


Raider Power Armor is a thing that exists. It is the weakest PA in the game but also the first type you can wear. You can find plans for it all over, specifically around the Toxic Valley region in level 3 locked boxes.


General stats:

  • Can be crafted starting at level 15, but not worn until level 25. 
  • At rank 50, it has DR/ER/RR of 343 with a full suit.

Where it can be found:

  • Random areas in Fallout 76, notably the Toxic Valley.
  • Mods can be found on the Raider Vendor in Sunnytop. 
  • Raider camps (Blood Eagle).


10. T-45

In previous Fallout games, the various PA types had some stark significances. In 76… not so much.

See the T-45 Power Armor in action here!


Like Raider, T-45 is a thing that exists. It’s not terrible, but it’s only a slight improvement over Raider. Also like Raider, the plans have to be found in the wild, which increases the difficulty significantly to track it down. You can find it in boxes around The Ash Heap, the Savage Divide, the Cranberry Bog, and The Mire. It is a rare reward from public and private events such as Distant Thunder and Project Paradise.


General stats:

  • At rank 50, it has a base DR/ER/RR of 360 for a full suit.

 Where it can be found:

  • Chassis parts can be found around Watoga Emergency services (outdoors and inside) at the Vertibird crash sites.
  • Scrapping these has a chance of teaching you the plans.
  • Mods can be found in the Whitesprings Mall or the Watoga Shopping Center.


9. T-51b 

It’s green, and a moderate improvement over the T-45. But you find it in the same exact places…

See the T-51b Power Armor in action here!


T-51b armor is a significant improvement up the chain from T-45 and Raider. It has slightly less radiation resistance than either set, but it makes up for it with nearly a 100pt boost over DR and ER.

One reason that T-51, T-45, and Raider are all so low on the list is the difficulty in finding the plans. Simply - you may not! It takes a while to track all the pieces down, to scrap them, and to find the plans at random locations. It’s a slow grind to get it all together.

General stats:

  • 454 DR and ER at level 50.
  • 305 RR.

Where it can be found:

  • Like T-45, T51b armor can be found around Watoga and across the Cranberry Bog (with a little bit in the southern parts of The Mire - such as rarely in The General’s Steakhouse or Solomon’s Pond).
  • Unfortunately, the plans for this aren’t on a vendor. Players may have them, but again, rarely.

8. T-60

It does look a little more menacing. It’s just not as strong. Why is it higher than the 51b? Looks alone, honestly. You can tie the two pretty easily.

See the T-60 Power Armor in action here!


The entire T series of Power Armor is useful, powerful, and strangely both common and uncommon. It’s common in that you will, eventually, find it. It’s uncommon in that you won’t, usually, find it on NPC vendors. What you’ll end up doing - more than likely - is either putting together a piecemeal set, or, you’ll get the plans for stronger PA before you complete your suit of T-based.


General stats:

  • At level 50, DR of 400, ER of 370, and RR of 415
  • Ignoring the typical power armor immunities (airborne, waterborne disease), there’s nothing special to it.

Where it can be found:

  • Like the T-51b and T-45, Watoga and the areas around it. 
  • Like the T-51b and T-45, you can talk to Vendor Bot Phoenix in the Watoga Shopping Center to buy the mod plans for caps.


7. T-65 

Defensive wise, it’s an improvement. Style wise? It looks like his face was used as an anvil.

See the T-65 Power Armor in action here!


The T-65 is a significant boost over the other parts of the T line AND it can be bought on a vendor. You don’t have to run all over the world to track down bits and pieces here and there; you just have to earn it. By earning, I mean grinding. 


Welcome to the Gold Bullion stage. I hope you’ve been saving your Treasury Notes…


General Stats:

  • At level 50. You’ll have a DR of 565 and ER/RR of 470.
  • No other unique set bonuses.

Where it can be found:

  • The plans for T-65 power armor require Gold Bullion. This currency is acquired through the Scoreboard, through collecting and turning in Treasury Notes at Public Events, and a weekly purchase from a special vendor at the top of the Wayward.
  • These can be bought from Regs in Vault 79, or from Minerva when they’re part of her inventory.
  • The same with the mods.
  • A full suit, with the exception of the mods, costs around 6900 Gold Bullion.

6. Strangler 

Maybe I’m too harsh on it; vault steel isn’t as hard to get as it used to be. I’m still RIGHT, but maybe a little harsh.

See the Strangler Power Armor in action here!


I am not a fan - let me be upfront. Like T-65, Strangler PA can be bought from Regs and Minerva with Gold Bullion. Unlike T-65, each piece requires Vault Steel to craft which is bought with Legendary Script in the Rusty Pick.

The only - and I do mean the only - reasons I rank this halfway up the list is because they are vendor bought (unlike T-60, T-51b, T-45, and Raider) and because of the set bonuses. Otherwise, given how long you have to grind events to earn enough of the crafting components to make them compared to other pieces, they’d sit at rank 12.  

Which is funny, because this list only goes to 11.

Strangler General Stats

  • DR 453, ER 393, RR of 500.
  • When a full set is equipped, it adds an Acid damage over time effect to “armed” attacks and does Acid damage to any melee attackers that hit you.
  • You need approximately 127-160pcs of Vault Steel to craft them (depending on if you have the Power Smith perk card equipped, which reduces crafting cost).

Where it can be found:

  • Vault 79 or Minerva, for a cost of 6900 from Regs or less from Minerva.
  • The mods are the same, with varying costs.

5. Ultracite

Stat-wise, it’s not the strongest of the endgame armor. But it’s hella good at what it does.

See Ultracite Power Armor in action here!


Everything you’ve read to this point has been unimportant. There are two suits of power armor you’ll be able to get the plans for at an early level that are directly comparative to everything else, if not better in some aspects. The first is the original endgame power armor for Fallout 76, and by far and above the most common.


Ultracite General Stats

  • DR 453, ER/RR 393.
  • No set bonus.
  • Only available at level 50 and beyond.

Where to get it:

  • Ultracite plans drop off of the Scorchbeast Queen. As one of the four endgame bosses, she’s player-spawned. You might see her up to three times in any given three hour period!
  • She drops the plans to everyone in the raid; you may have 10-20 players who get the plans three times in a row.
  • These plans are tradable. If you don’t get them from her, you will be able to find them on player vendors. I honestly can’t get rid of them even at 5 caps a plan.
  • Ultracite PA can and will last a very long time before you have to sweat upgrading it, if you ever do.


4. X-01

I am the honeybee of DOOM.

See X-01 Power Armor in action here!

It’s free. The only thing you’re out on this one is time and crafting components. In theory, it can take you longer to get than Ultracite because you do have to complete the main questline to grab it (whereas with Ultracite, one good afternoon of boss fights and player vendors can nab you the set). You’ll have to rank up to ‘General’ status with the Enclave in order to access them, so you’ll have to grind a handful of “Enclave” events as they spawn.

But, unlike ultracite, you can get all the plans in one location at one time. For free. Without being shot at.

General stats:

  • At level 50, it has a DR of 398 and an ER/RR of 453 (swapped from Ultracite).
  • No set bonus.

 Where to get it:

  • These plans are located in the Whitespring (Enclave) bunker on the Archival Terminal in the ARMORY room.
  • You have to specifically go to the Archival Terminal (red computer panels) and look for Prototype Power Armor plans.
  • Read that, and you’ll get all five parts.
  • The mods are sold in the Armory for caps. 

3. Hellcat

Speaking of DOOM, this thing looks like a cross between Dr. Doom and a Cylon.

See Hellcat Power Armor in action here!


Hellcat is an interesting suit and it offers arguably the best all-around set bonus. You learn the plans for free but the mods are only available from Regs in Vault 79 or Minerva - and both for gold bullion. It has a unique look, something that can’t be said for much of the PA in the game.


The only real downsides?


It doesn’t offer as much outright damage prevention and you do have to complete the Brotherhood of Steel questline. The latter isn’t a terrible thing; it’s a fun quest, it just takes time. The former is made up by the set bonus, but your mileage will vary.


General stats:

  • At level 50, it has a DR of 436 and an ER/RR of 320.
  • It offers an additional 12% damage reduction (base) against Ballistic damage (bullets) on top of the normal PA reduction of 42%. Since around half of the wasteland is actively shooting at you, this bonus can be a lifesaver in a lot of situations.


Where to get it:

  • As mentioned above, once you complete the BoS questline, you’re rewarded the full set of plans for free.
  • Mods are available at Vault 79 or from Minerva.  


2. Excavator

Ranked 2 because you’ll find it within days of getting out of the Vault - and you can use it for a long, long time.

See Excavator Power Armor in action here!


Again, free plans. Even better, free plans that you can get at an early level - level 35! I personally know a lot of people that use Excavator even at level 500 because of the set bonuses it has, and since you can get it at a low level, you can very viably use this as your main suit of PA until you pick up Ultracite, Hellcat, X-01 or even Union.


Downside? It has the weakest DR and ER of all of the other PA in the game.


General stats:

  • DR and ER of 240, RR of 366 at level 50.
  • Again, this is the weakest DR and ER of all power armor, including Raider.
  • Set bonus 1: +100 carry weight. 
  • Set bonus 2: When mining ore nodes, gain 4x extra yield (such as 8pcs instead of 2)

Where to get it:

  • There’s a trading post in the town of Grafton with a vendor bot that sells the mods, and another one in Camden Park.
  • The plans for the armor is a reward for completing the Miner Miracles questline from the Ash Heap.
  • Head straight to Garrahan Mining once you enter the Ash Heap for the first time, find a poster near the entrance, and get ready to go digging.


1. Union

The ultimate Bender Bot - straight from the nation’s steelworkers. Knock the rust off, and she’ll knock the head off of anything that you come near.

See the Union Power Armor in action here!


Bar none, my favorite armor in the game - power or otherwise. The set bonuses are what sell me on this, even at a cost of reduced DR/ER. Getting it is a bit harder than everything else with the exception of Strangler, but once you have it, you’re immune to one of the worst effects in the game.


Unfortunately, if you didn’t get it in Season 10, you’re in for the worst grind in the game. There’s nothing wrong with settling for Hellcat, T-65, or Ultracite instead of trying to collect this one. But, I do recommend getting it - when you eventually can.


Oh, and the incredibly low ER really hurts in certain situations (I’m looking at you, Imposter Sheepsquatch).


General stats:

  • DR at 485, ER at 295, RR at 265.
  • Set bonus 1: +75 carry weight with a full suit.
  • Set bonus 2: 150 poison resist. 


That 150 PR? It’s wrong! On paper, it doesn’t look like much. In reality, it’s poison IMMUNITY as of February, 2024. Wearing this armor renders you entirely immune to the “poison” mutation or even the general poison effect on Acidic Gulpers. This immunity completely renders ‘poison’ mutations at mutated events AND the ‘poison cloud’ effect in Daily Ops inert. You take 0 damage from it at all. 

To me, the poison mutation is one of the most annoying - and I see people who die from it all the time. Having Union PA on removes all of the risk from poison exposure and as a result, it is the most useful PAs that you can find anywhere in the wasteland in Fallout 76. 

IF that effect ever changes? Union loses a lot of functionality and coupled with the cost, leaves it no better than T-51b (or even Raider). Excavator has a better carry weight boost, Hellcat offers better resistance against ballistics, and even Ultracite has better DR/ER.

Where to find it:

  • If you didn’t get it from the Season 10 scoreboard, you’ll be relegated to buying it with Stamps from Giuseppe Della Ripa at the Whitesprings Refuge. 
  • It takes a lot of stamps - around 800 each (at best, 40 expeditions completed at 100%).
  • The mods? Also stamps.
  • You can earn a free, random plan every week by completing an expedition. But that’s going to take a long, long time.


Well then - you’ve got your armor selected. What about weapons? Take a look at one of these articles for ways to arm yourself to face the worst of the wasteland.


Born on the outskirts of the Eldritch Mountains of Appalachia, Josh seeks to bring the magic of the (very) old into the minds of those willing to learn fantasy, magic, and the joy of building worlds.
Gamer Since: 1989
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Fallout 76, Cities Skylines 2
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim - Dragonborn, Cities: Skylines - After Dark, Total War: Rome II