Shields, like swords, are a staple of any Zelda game, and Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is no exception. There's a total of 36 shields in the game, with a range of defensive values, and at some point, you'll probably end up trying most of them out.
But what shield is the best? It's probably not the piece of wood you picked up five minutes into the game. You'll find a lot of okay, subpar, and even good shields in your journey to find Zelda and save Hyrule, but there are only a few that are absolutely the best.
10 Spiked Boko Shield
Spiked Boko Shields are probably one of the more solid early-game shields. They're easy to find (usually dropped by Blue Bokoblins), and with a base defense of 10, they offer a little more protection than their non-spiked predecessors. They're still made of wood, though, and are therefore vulnerable to fire.
You'll obviously find much stronger shields later on, but for your first few, a Spiked Boko Shield is as good as gold. Get as many as you can and toss out those single-digit defense shields as soon as possible.
9 Kite Shield
The Kite Shield is a favorite of the Rito warriors and their aerial fight style (although it doesn't actually offer any extra perks if you wield it, even in midair). You'll find it mostly in the Hebra Mountains and Tabantha Frontier. It's a metal shield with a base defense of 14 and a good shield to get if you do the Rito Village quest early on.
It takes strikes and arrows well and can stand up to fire - which is great when you come up against enemies with flame emitters attached to their shields. Be wary of lightning strikes, as it's vulnerable to those, but for the most part, this is a solid shield to get you through your Wind Temple adventures.
8 Zora Shield
This is the shield of the Zora warriors. It stands out with its intricate, unique design, and its base defense of 24 is nothing to laugh at. It's large enough to cover your body without being unwieldy and sturdy enough that it won't be easily knocked out of the way.
It's a perfect shield to grab while running around the Zora Domain before you head up to the Water Temple, and it'll serve you well beyond that. Its strong durability means it'll last you for a while to come.
7 Dragonbone Boko Shield
The Dragonbone Boko Shield is the best you'll find among the Boko gear. Its base defense stands at 25, and it's good for catching and collecting arrows if you need to stock up fast. Like all Boko gear, it's made of wood, so be ready to switch it out fast if you come across an enemy wielding any kind of flame weapons, but it'll still hold up pretty well against other weapons, and it's fairly easy to find.
If you're in need of a better shield, but find yourself at a midway point where nothing better is available, grab a few Dragonbone Boko Shields. They'll last you until the next temple.
6 Radiant Shield
The Radiant Shield is the shield wielded by the captain of the Gerudo warriors. Finding it means braving the Gerudo Desert and Highlands, so be prepared with appropriate clothing and food to get you through the days and freezing nights.
It boasts a base defense of 35 and high durability, which makes it well worth the treacherous journey to find it. You'll be happy to get your hands on this beauty.
5 Knight's Shield
Only the best for those who work in defense of the royal family. While not top of the line, the Knight's Shield is highly ranked, with a base defense of 40. It bears the symbol of the royal family, and while it has clearly seen better days (given the dents and scrapes on the surface), it still holds up in battle.
You can find a small supply of them around Hyrule Castle, but if you haven't managed to get there yet, you'll also find some stronger enemies wielding them in Northern Hyrule. It is absolutely a shield worth clearing out your inventory for.
4 Mighty Zonaite Shield
Zonaite gear is fairly reliable and strong, and the Mighty Zonaite Shield is the best of it all. With a base defense of 50, it'll stand up to all attacks and has the advantage of being impervious to fire and lightning, as it's not made of wood or metal. This makes it unique among most other shields, which usually have at least one of those weaknesses, if not both.
The easiest place to find it is in shrines, where it's offered as a prize, and you'll want to save it once you have it. This isn't a shield to be wasted on common enemies.
3 Savage Lynel Shield
This is the shield wielded by the White-Maned Lynel, the strongest Lynel of them all. You can only get it by defeating the White-Maned Lynel in Akala Highlands or the Central Hyrule Depths, but it's worth the fight. With a base defense of 62, it'll stand up to most attacks and is surprisingly solid, given its slightly fragile durability.
It's probably not one you'll use as much, if only because it's harder to replace, but you'll treasure it for the time you have it.
2 Royal Guard's Shield
The Royal Guard's shield is, hands down, one of the best common shields you'll find in the game. It boasts a high quality as part of the Royal Guard's gear, sitting at a defense of 70, leaps and bounds above a lot of other shields in the game. It's a little harder to acquire - you'll have to venture into the floating castle to get one, but the adventure is well worth it to collect a couple of these and have them on hand for stronger enemies as you move into later parts of the game.
1 Hylian Shield
The shield that everyone thinks of when imagining Link. It's almost as iconic as the Master Sword or Link's green tunic and hat. The Hylian shield is by far the best in the game, with the highest durability and a base defense of 90.
This is the shield you'll want with you as you hurry into the endgame, the shield that will take a few hard hits without threatening to break and is by far the best shield for Link's journey. It can be difficult to get and costly to replace, but it's all worth it for the strongest shield in the game.
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