The male player and Dogmeat in Fallout 4
(Bethesda)

The Best ‘Fallout 4’ Perks, Ranked

These perks come with perks.

Giant warrior robots. Missing sons. Hordes of mutants. Fallout 4 contains multitudes, including a multitude of perks! Wanna know how to best outfit your wasteland wanderer to become the very best they can be? Here are the 15 best perks, ranked.

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That said, while some perks are indeed better than others, there is no true ranking system. Perks are suited to different play styles, including role play styles! Is your character someone about as smart as a wet match in a dark cave who likes to let their fists do the talking? The gun-friendly number one perk on this list might not be YOUR number one perk. Sure, it’ll help you do the most damage from a mathematical standpoint, but who plays video games to do math?

15. Awareness

A target lit up under VATS in "Fallout 4"
(Bethesda)

It’s good to know things. It was half of Tyrion Lannister’s personality (the other half was drinking). Awareness is a phenomenal combat skill for appraising your enemies’ weaknesses. No more guesswork! You’ll be able to see the level of your enemy and become aware of their resistances. Why attack a ghoul with a weapon dealing radiation damage when they’re resistant to radiation? You wouldn’t! But only perks like Awareness will give you that insider information. Sure beats trial and error.

14. Sneak

A character crouching in the wasteland in "Fallout 4"
(Bethesda)

Sneak is one of the best abilities in the game for those looking for more second story work. Everyone knows that a surefire way to cheese through a Bethesda game is through stealth and long-range attacks. Just TRY finishing Skyrim while resisting the temptation of Sneak + Bow and Arrow. Good luck. Fallout 4 is the same deal. Saunter past your enemies all stealthy-like and then choose between ranged or close quarters surprise attacks. You’ll thank yourself later.

13. Grim Reaper’s Sprint

A person shooting an automatic rifle in "Fallout 4"
(Bethesda)

If you have a high damage build, Grim Reaper’s Sprint can turn you into a true beast of wanton death and destruction. At its ultimate level, the perk gives any V.A.T.S. kill a 35 percent chance of restoring all Action Points and refilling your Critical meter. If you’re able to defeat an enemy quickly in two or three shots, you have a one in three chance of refilling! That allows you to jump right back into V.A.T.S. and keep on killing with more Critical than a Rotten Tomatoes review!

12. Life Giver

Stimpacks and chems on a table in "Fallout 4"
(Bethesda)

At max level, Life Giver allows you to constantly regenerate health. That means you can say goodbye to stimpacks and eating! You can just run around and heal up! Under heavy fire? Just chill in cover for a minute to get your health up again! And best of all? Life Giver’s max rank can be accessed at the low, low level of 20! Like Jesus of the Wasteland, you will always rise again!

11. Wasteland Whisperer

A deathclaw stalks the wasteland in "Fallout 4"
(Bethesda)

Ever wanted a Deathclaw as a pet? Now you can have one! The Wasteland Whisperer perk allows you to make a temporary companion out of all the Wasteland’s horrors! Overwhelmed by Raiders? Call in your friendly Super Mutant and watch the fireworks show! Combine this ability with long range perks like Sniper and you can play like a true MMORPG ranger, dealing death from afar while your animal companion gets up close. Throw the Rifleman perk into the mix and it’s truly over for all who stand in you and Lil’ Deathy’s way.

10. Gun Nut

A menu showing the Gun Nut perk in "Fallout 4"
(Bethesda)

Energy weapons? Pick the Science perk. Melee weapons? Go with Blacksmith. But if you wanna take on the Wasteland the American Way, you gotta pick Gun Nut. Let your inner Texan loose and become master of the tools of old fashioned frontier justice. The Gun Nut perk increases Small Gun and Repair proficiency by five every single time you increase its level. You’ll be the rootinest, tootinest, gun shootinest Wasteland warrior this side of the irradiated Mississippi! Combine this perk with Gunslinger or Rifleman and you will become a gun god.

9. Locksmith

A player standing in front of a locked door in "Fallout 4"
(Bethesda)

If you truly want to leave no stone unturned in your Fallout 4 playthrough, Locksmith is a must have perk. Rather than suffer the endless frustration of broken bobby pin after broken bobby pin, use the Locksmith ability to make lock picking a breeze! Just think of all the loot and lore that you’ll be able to uncover! Because let’s face it, if you come face to face with a locked door that you can’t beat, there’s no way you’re gonna come back for it. With Locksmith, you can make sure you can crack your way through any lock the first time around.

8. Hacker

A computer terminal in "Fallout 4"
(Bethesda)

The companion skill to Locksmith, Hacker allows you easy access to all of the game’s many terminals. Sure you could bring a computer nerd companion along with you and have them do it, but why hang out with a nerd when you can BE one? That way, you can get cooler companions. Like your dog! Show me a dog that can hack into a computer terminal. I’ll wait. If you want every single piece of loot that the Wasteland has locked away, the only way to do it right is to do it yourself.

7. Strong Back

A suit of power armor stands empty in a hangar in "Fallout 4"
(Bethesda)

You know what sucks? Running out of storage space. Endless trips to and from your settlement just to drop stuff off? That doesn’t sound very exciting to me. What happens when you find the perfect piece of loot but you can barely walk and can’t bear to throw anything away? Why set yourself up for back failure when Strong Back sets you up for back success! The perk allows you to carry far more than any normal human back was ever meant to. And at its highest level, you can fast travel while over-encumbered. Oxymoron? Yes. Convenient? Even more so.

6. Inspirational

A weathered looking young woman looks at the player in "Fallout 4"
(Bethesda)

It’s good to have a friend in the Wasteland. A companion on whom you can rely. Sometimes they can just get in the way, taking a backseat while you mop up that horde of mutants. But with Inspirational, you can give your companion nigh-player character power. This perk increases your companion’s damage, removes friendly fire, and allows them to carry more of your stuff! Hooray! Be an Inspiration and let your companion follow in your bloody main character footsteps. You won’t be disappointed in them (anymore).

5. Gunslinger

A man in a suit and tie crouches with a silenced pistol in "Fallout 4"
(Bethesda)

You can spit and hit a handgun in the early stages of Fallout 4, Gunslinger makes those guns worth it. At its highest level, Gunslinger causes non-automatic pistols to deal double damage, disarm opponents, and even cripple their limbs! Be like a fabled gunslinger of old! Shootin’ pistols out of people’s hands! Shootin’ kneecaps off of knees! Shootin’ heads off of people’s shoulders! Perfect for an Old West-style play through, darn tootin’.

4. Toughness

Two men in power armor stand in the forest with guns in "Fallout 4"
(Bethesda)

Do you like taking damage and dying? No? I thought not. Toughness is the perk for you. No matter what your play style, I’m sure it involves not getting killed. With the Toughness perk, that’ll happen less. At its highest level, toughness grants you +50 damage resistance, allowing you to shrug off hits that would decimate lesser Wasteland wanderers. Imagine the look on the Super Mutant’s face when his one-hit-kill shots fail to live up to their description. Priceless.

3. Medic

A female doctor smiles at the player in "Fallout 4"
(Bethesda)

In the spirit of dying less, Medic is a perfect companion perk to Toughness. It allows you to gain more health from stimpacks and further increase the amount of radiation that RadAway can remove. How much so? At its max level, Medic allows stimpacks to restore ALL of your lost health and RadAway to remove ALL radiation. And best of all? You can use these items at increased speeds! Near death? Pop a quick stimmy and be back in the action in seconds flat! And best of all, you only have to spend 2 points on Intelligence in order to unlock it! A steal!

2. Action Boy

An enemy runs in front of the player while lit up by VATS targeting in "Fallout 4"
(Bethesda)

Are you a fan of V.A.T.S.? Do you already have the Grim Reaper’s Sprint perk working? Then Action Boy is an absolute must. Action Boy allows your Action Points to regenerate 50% faster at the low, low level of 18! Combine that with a high damage weapon and Grim Reaper’s Sprint and you’re looking at virtually infinite Action Points, baby! You’ll get to live your whole combat life in methodical, precise, and deadly slow motion! Combined with Gunslinger, not even the fast-handed cast of Red Dead Redemption could stand up to you.

1. Rifleman

Image of a legendary hunting rifle in "Fallout 4"
(Bethesda)

Rifles. The Wasteland is lousy with them. They’re plentiful. They’re powerful. They’re cool. If you intend on working rifles into your build, then you simply cannot refuse this perk. At level one, any non-automatic rifle you use instantly gets a 20% damage boost. As you increase in levels, Rifleman allows your shots to pierce armor. At the highest level, your rifle shots deal double damage and ignore 30% of a target’s armor. Combine that with the Sniper and Sneak perks and you’ve got a death-dealing long range assassin on your hands. Wish that every Bethesda game could be as satisfying as a stealth archer Skyrim run? With the Rifleman perk, now it can be.


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Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.