One of the many things that makes The Legend of Zelda one of the most beloved series in all of video gaming is the items you pick up along your adventures. Crazy cool weapons to defeat your foes and exploit a boss monster’s weaknesses. Handy bits of gear to help you navigate the world with ease. Nifty gadgets to manipulate the world around you and solve brain-teasing puzzles. You find them all throughout your numerous jaunts through Hyrule!
However, some are better than others. Through a combination of utility, uniqueness, recurrence in the series, importance to the plot, and just plain coolness, some items stand out higher than the rest. So we compiled a ranked list of the very best. Will your favorite item make the cut? Are bombs better than the Hookshot? Where will the Master Sword end up? Read on to find out more about The Top 20 Best Items In The Legend of Zelda Series, Ranked.
Are bottles the most flashy of Zelda items? No. Were they pivotal to any famous boss fights? No (well, except for the hilarious fact that you could deflect Ganondorf’s blasts with them in Ocarina of Time). But be honest, how many times did you die only to be brought back because you kept a fairy in a bottle? How many times were you able to persevere in a boss battle because you swigged that fine Lon Lon Milk you kept in a bottle? How many quests did you complete by being able to catch little critters and deliver them via bottle?
“Many many times” is the most likely answer to all of those. As games filled with hazards left and right, the Zelda series often require you to prepare yourself with plenty of plan B options if the going gets tough. You’ll always feel more at ease staring down an Iron Knuckle if you have a trusty red health potion at your side, and you’re more willing to charge up that extra spin attack and fire off some Light Arrows if you have a green magic potion to spare. And it’s all the little reassurances like that earn bottles a spot on this list.
You throw it, it stuns them, it comes back. What’s not to like about boomerangs?
One of the original items of the entire franchise, and an early acquirement in every title it pops up in, the boomerang is a true staple of Link’s arsenal. Though it shows up often in the series, its best applications are probably found in Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. In Wind Waker, Link can use it to target multiple targets to mass stun or cut ropes, and the Twilight Princess variant is notable for causing a small tornado wherever it goes.
Sadly, the trade-off for being such an early boon is that it often loses significance the longer you play. Once you have the bow and the Hookshot, you have improved methods of reaching far away enemies and items. It’s consistently inevitable obsolescence keeps the boomerang from soaring amongst the other weapons, but it’s always appreciated in the early hours of every game it’s in.
18 Hover Boots
The Zelda games sure do like their pitfalls, chasms and bottomless pits. After falling down a number of them, it’s only natural to then think “Boy, I sure wish I could just walk right over these annoying gaps everywhere.”
Well, that’s exactly what these pumped up kicks are for! Simply don the Hover Boots and Link can walk from cliff to cliff without having to ever worry about silly old gravity. It also helped out with things like quicksand and pressure plate traps, as you could just glide right over them.
However, as fun as they were to play with in Ocarina of Time, they had a few serious drawbacks that prevent them from being some of the truly best items. First of all, they had poor traction when not in mid-air, making Link slip and slide all over the place, thus relegating the boots to puzzle solution only as opposed to a flat upgrade. Second, they had a short limit to the amount of steps you could take with them, which put a major hamper on the fun they could provide.
If we ever see them in another Zelda game, hopefully they make this fancy footwear even more fun.
17 Magic Rods
In the original The Legend of Zelda, the magical rod you acquire is arguably the best form of long range offense in the game. The bow cost a rupee per arrow, the boomerang couldn’t kill anything, and your sword only shot beams if you were at full health. But when the magical rod was paired with the Book of Magic, Link could sling fireballs for days.
Since then, a multitude of rods have cropped up to help Link in his adventures, most notably the Dominion Rod in Twilight Princess as well as the Fire, Ice, Sand, and Tornado Rods in A Link Between Worlds. All of them let you interact with Hyrule in magical ways, even if some of those ways are just lighting things on fire.
Unfortunately, a majority of the tasks magic rods can accomplish, other items can do just as well. Why throw a measly ball of fire five feet in front of you when you can just easily shoot a fire arrow five yards away? Their being outclassed keeps magic rods lower on this list, but still, Zelda wouldn’t be Zelda without any magic, and the various rods across the games certainly add to that.
16 The Gust Jar / Gust Bellows
The Gust Jar really sucks, but that’s why it’s so useful! It’s one of the first items you ever acquire in The Minish Cap and it lends itself well to a multitude of puzzle solving. Like an oversized vacuum, you can suck up dust and dirt to reveal secret switches or items beneath them. Then once the jar is filled, you can shoot a gust of air to stun enemies or surge Link forward if you’re on platform in the air or on water.
The item then got an upgrade when it showed up again in Skyward Sword as the Gust Bellows. Found in a dungeon covered in sand and rife with windmill generators, you spend more time with the Gust Bellows out than you do even with your sword. It made for an interesting fight against the scorpion boss of the dungeon, who kept burrowing deeper into the sands, requiring you to spray everything away to find him.
They may not be the most efficient items outside of their respective dungeons, but the Gust items sure made for some mind-blowing puzzle solutions.
15 The Beetle
Skyward Sword had its fair share of problems and disappointments, but the Beetle sure as hell wasn’t one of them.
This little device was like Link’s very own personal drone. You could send it out and control it via Wiimote motion controls, shifting the camera perspective to the device’s flight path. This served a staggering number of purposes, snagging some rupees hiding in a high spot to knocking a puzzle switch hidden behind a corner, or just doing a little reconnaissance and seeing what could be lurking in a new area.
Its uses increase further when you’re able to upgrade the thing to hold and carry objects. Then smaller boxes could be carried off to help solve puzzles, and more importantly, you could pick up bomb flowers and perform aerial raids on enemies below. Why endanger yourself to bomb your enemies when you can send a little automated bug to do it all for you?
14 The Spinner
It’s a real travesty that the Spinner has only appeared in Twilight Princess. On paper, it’s a simple and admittedly silly concept: it’s a spinning top that Link can ride. But in practice? Man, is it fun. You can hook it to rails to zoom across gaps and go up walls at rapid speeds, using the spin attack to knock enemies aside as if you were playing a lethal form of Beyblades. Alternatively, its edges made it work like a gear as well, allowing Link to plug it into the ground and turn knobs and the like. But best of all was just riding it downhill like big, goofy skateboard – because walking is simply beneath the hero of Hyrule.
And thanks to the Spinner, we were given one of the greatest boss battles in all of Zelda against the Stallord. First, you had to ride around his pit, looking for chances to jump down and smash into his spine, then in the second phase you had to bounce from wall to wall as you rode closer to his floating skull and dodged his fire breath. It was a sequence straight out of an action movie, and proof positive that the Spinner deserves another appearance to show us what else it can do.
13 The Mirror Shield
Let there be light! But only on very specific portions of walls and floors.
How do you make that happen? Why, with the Mirror Shield, of course! Thanks to this gorgeous piece of defense’s reflective surface, anytime Link is in a bit of light, you can use the shield to aim that light anywhere else. The Light Temple in Ocarina of Time and the Ikana Canyon in Majora’s Mask are littered with obstacles that crumple in sunlight, which is really where this item shone.
But the most significant application of the Mirror Shield probably has to be in Wind Waker. Shining some light on those annoying Chu-chus and ReDeads will stop them right in their tracks! Additionally, the Mirror Shield is essential to the final fight, as Link uses it to deflect Zelda’s light arrows in order to hit the dodgy Ganon.
All that being said, the Mirror Shield has its downsides, namely that in some games it is actually worse at reflecting enemy attacks than the standard Hylian shields. Despite all the help it provides on several of Link’s adventures, these setbacks prevent the Mirror Shield from raising any higher on the list.
Sometimes, you just gotta smash something. Be it a stubborn button, a big boulder, or a block of ice, there are moments when brute force is the simple solution.
Enter the various hammers in the Zelda series – be it the Megaton Hammer in Ocarina of Time, the Skull Hammer in Wind Waker, or even the Ball and Chain in Twilight Princess. They come in various shapes and sizes, but they all serve the same purpose: smash the crap out of stuff. Large rock covering a secret entrance? Smash it with the hammer! Metal pegs standing up in your way? Smash ‘em with the hammer! Rusty switch not moving in place no matter how hard you push it? Smash it with the hammer!
Hammers are also a nice alternative to Link’s swords for dealing damage to enemies, sometimes stunning some or cracking away at their defenses. And in Breath of the Wild, there's nothing better than the iron sledgehammers when it comes to mining for precious gems.
However, despite how much fun hammers provide in the Zelda series, ultimately they’re one of the most replaceable entries as everything they can do can be done with other items if you get creative enough. This prevents them from reaching a higher spot on the list, but at least it doesn’t prevent them from being tons of fun.
11 The Wind Waker
The defining feature of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was being able to explore the high seas, and that wouldn’t have been possible without the aid of the titular Wind Waker itself.
In the same vein as the Ocarina of Time and the Goddess’s Harp, the Wind Waker was a musical item infused with the magic power to shape the world around it. But instead of playing songs with it, you conducted them, as the song was in the very winds themselves. You could then command them in any direction you choose – an essential ability in navigating your boat across the ocean.
One of the other more unique features of the Wind Waker was the Song of Command, which, when conducted, allowed Link to inhabit statues nearby and move them to solve puzzles. It made the Wind Waker a more integral part of moment-to-moment gameplay than the likes of the Ocarina of Time, whose usage was restricted more to pivotal plot points and supplemental world changes.
10 Ravio’s Bracelet
When A Link Between Worlds came out, with the main gimmick being that Link could should shift between 2D and 3D, some fans were probably underwhelmed. However, once you finally get your hands on Ravio’s Bracelet and realize the puzzle potential in moving across walls, it takes the game to a whole new dimension.
Never again could you be plagued by raging rivers - if there was a mountain wall you could just scoot across as a painting. If a moving platform was headed between some walls, you could merge with it, walk around, and pop back out onto the platform, the walls now behind you. It made the boss fight against the Stalblind memorable, as you could merge into his shield and then pop back out behind him when he looked around baffled at how you disappeared. Then, of course, becoming a painting allowed you to literally slip through the cracks and visit the alternate world of Lorule, which had its own unique variations of enemies and loot to find.
Ravio was on odd dude with a lot of different items to offer, but his bracelet stands out amongst them all for being one of the more innovative mechanics to be introduced in Zelda.
9 The Sheikah Slate
You know what would make an iPad even better? If it could blow stuff up. And stop time. And give you Magneto powers.
That’s essentially what the Sheikah Slate is, at any rate: a Zelda iPad with even more goodies. It lets you take pictures and use GPS, but it also comes with various runes. And compared to other items of this power, the Sheikah Slate and its abilities are accessed incredibly early in Breath of the Wild. At a first glance it may seem like overpowering Link too quickly, but its presence serves as a symbol of Breath of the Wild’s departure from the precedent set by Ocarina of Time.
Instead of picking up items to unlock a linear path to obtaining more items, the Sheikah Slate is given to you at the start, under the premise that your ability to use all the various runes within it will grow as you continue to the play the game and solve more puzzles with it.
And sure enough, several hours in, you’ll still continue to find new and zany ways to Sheikah Slate your way to victory. Whether it be bashing bokoblins with metal crates, or stopping time on boulders and smacking them so you can ride them like shooting stars. Its versatility and openness for creativity make the Sheikah Slate one of the better items to ever make their debut in a Zelda title.
8 Pegasus Boots
Since their debut in A Link to the Past, every top-down 2D Zelda game has been vastly improved by the presence of the Pegasus Boots. Getting from place to place on foot can be a bit of a pain given the slow speed Link usually walks at coupled with the rapid pace at which enemies spot and attack you. But charge up those Pegasus Boots, and suddenly you can take off at whiplash speeds, zipping from screen to screen as fast as the loading times can take you.
The fact that they let you also run past damaging enemies like a relentless jouster is an added delight as well. No navigation needed when you can just surge through Ganon’s forces with your blade out and let inertia do all the work.
On top of all that, this charge attack is useful in dislodging creatures and items from high places. Slamming Link into trees may seem counter intuitive to his quest of heroism, but it often yields profitable results.
Money, speed, and reckless attacks – the Pegasus Boots give you everything you could ever want.
Doesn’t everyone wish they could fly? Just spread some wings and avoid all those moblins by taking to the sky?
That’s where Breath of the Wild’s paraglider comes in (as well as the Sailcloth in Skyward Sword and Great Deku Leaf in Wind Waker). Sure, Link is hearty enough to trek through the hazards of Hyrule Field on foot, and he can summon a horse to carry him even faster. But the paraglider offers even faster and even safer travel.
You can soar from mountain to mountain, thumbing your nose at any enemies lurking in the ravines beneath you. You could run through an enemy camp and fight for your life to get to the shrine on the other side, or you can light a big fire, ride the updraft and glide across the whole thing. The paraglider drives home the feelings of freedom and wonder, that the world is yours to explore however you see fit.
Not to mention the gorgeous views on-screen whenever you’re gliding from place to place. The ability to let players appreciate the games’ beauty on a greater level alone is a big part of the reason the paraglider is something special.
Also known in Zelda games as the bane of cracked walls everywhere, bombs have been around since the very beginning and show up in every game in the franchise, other than Adventure of Link.
Explosions are always fun to watch regardless, but in Zelda they are often the key to finding hidden treasures tucked away in nooks and crannies. Moreover, many dungeons throughout the games often employ boulders and other such barriers to block Link’s progress, and bombs are then the key to making those barriers go up in smoke. Without bombs, however could you defeat the infamous Dodongo? It was bombs that helped set up that now-standard game convention of tricking boss monsters into death via explosion.
Plus, they make great additions to Link’s fighting capabilities outside of boss battles. Almost every enemy you face in every game will take some sort of damage if you detonate a bomb right in its face, making bombs relevant throughout the entirety of every game they’re in. Their reliability, recurrence, damage output, and pure cathartic fun make bombs one of the absolute best items in the Zelda series.
Because let’s be honest, if we included every mask in Majora’s Mask as a separate entry, it would take up at least half of this list!
What Majora’s Mask lacked in dungeon amount and item hunting, it more than made up for with the variety of masks you could pick up and play with. Instead of acquiring a Zora tunic as in previous games, you would slap on the Zora mask and just become a Zora yourself!
Why waste bombs when you could strap the Blast Mask onto your face and becoming a walking bomb? Don the Bunny Hood and witness how your experience immediately improves when you can power-jog past enemies at lightning speeds. And who forget when you could harness the power of a wrathful god when you donned the Fierce Deity Mask? That item alone arguably made Link the strongest he’s ever been in the series.
Breath of the Wild thankfully continues on the legacy of masks in the Zelda franchise by allowing Link to don the likeness of Bokoblins and Lizalfos to avoid combat with them altogether, promising that masks are here to stay. Now let’s just hope that the Bunny Hood shows up again in the DLC; making hasty elixirs can get tedious.
4 The Hookshot
The Hookshot would have hit a top five spot purely by the virtue of being the bringer of salvation in water temples, but it helps that it’s an awesome item in its own right. Just point wherever you want to go and, if it’s an applicable surface, you’ll zip over there. Alternatively, pull in items or repeatedly stab enemies from afar. Say goodbye to the boomerang and needlessly spending arrows; the Hookshot’s got most of your long-range needs covered.
Whenever you obtain the Hookshot, it instantly opens up different avenues for platforming. With the two clawshots in hand during Twilight Princess, you can go from point to point like medieval Spider-Man. In A Link Between Worlds, you can zip across the screen to a wooden wall and then combo it with Ravio’s Bracelet to merge into it.
Whether it’s crossing chasms or going up several stories, the Hookshot is the best tool at getting you where you need to go in an instant.
3 The Ocarina of Time
As the namesake of one of the greatest video games of all time, it goes without saying that the Ocarina of Time is a pretty dang significant item. Through its songs, Link is able to do marvelous things, from changing the weather to teleporting across Hyrule. Moreover, many puzzles would go unsolved if it weren’t for their specific tunes being played on the Ocarina.
The Ocarina isn’t just a pretty addition to Link’s collection or a one-off item, it’s an essential piece in his quest against Ganondorf. It works wonders in the other games it shows up in as well, like Majora’s Mask. Without the ability to play the Song of Time, Link would only have three measly days to save Clock Town from its complete destruction.
So while it not be the most frequently appearing item, or the deadliest in battle, the Ocarina of Time still deserves top recognition for being the driving factor in two of the biggest games in the Legend of Zelda series.
2 The Master Sword
The Master Sword is arguably the most famous video game weapon of all time. And for good reason, too. It’s the Sealer of Darkness – the chosen blade to be wielded by only a true hero so that they may vanquish evil. As Link’s sword of choice since it debuted in A Link to the Past, it is probably the cause of the most monster deaths across Hyrule, as well as the direct cause of every defeat of Ganon.
The Master Sword doesn’t show up in every Zelda game, but whenever it does, obtaining it is one of the most monumental moments of the entire game. In A Link to the Past, the Master Sword can only be pulled from its mysterious resting place in the Lost Woods after Link proves himself by obtaining three pendants. In Ocarina of Time, it is notable for being the catalyst for Link transitioning between child and adult form. And in Breath of the Wild, the sword drains your hearts when you attempt to pull it, so you feel like a mighty warrior when you finally retrieve it. Not to mention, it's the one weapon in Breath of the Wild that doesn’t completely break after usage, which is something worth celebrating on its own.
The Master Sword easily earns its spot near the top of this list for being an all-powerful MacGuffin. It’s the Excaliber of video games. And yet, there is one more item equally essential to Ganon’s defeat that shows up in even more Zelda games...
1 Bow and Arrows
Bow and Arrows are present in every single Zelda game except Adventure of Link, making them the most recurrent items in the entire franchise, after bombs. Additionally, they're often pivotal to the final boss fight as well. In the original Legend of Zelda, Ganon could only be felled by a well-placed silver arrow. In Ocarina of Time, the Light Arrow is needed to defeat the first stage of the Ganondorf fight.
Not only is the bow always a sublime item for puzzle-solving and dungeon-delving, but it's useful in all situations. Doesn’t matter what enemy you’re facing, you can soften it up with arrows or turn it into a pincushion from afar if you’re set on avoiding it. Many items in Zelda unfortunately have their moment and then regress to their corner of the inventory, but the bow should always be assigned to one of your item slots.
Lastly, the bow gets a boost from many different arrow types throughout the games. Fire and Ice arrows are always a plus, able to create and clear obstacles in Link’s way. Bomb arrows are a hilarious way to hurt enemies without getting into the fray. And most recently in Breath of the Wild, Ancient Arrows are by far the most effective way of dealing with the powerful Guardian enemies.
The Master Sword gets all the attention for being the sealer of darkness, but the bow is always just as necessary. Its consistency in the franchise, variability, potency, and importance to the plot easily make the bow and arrow the number one item throughout The Legend of Zelda.
Which is your favorite item in the Legend of Zelda series? Let us know in the comments!