An in-depth look at the best armor in the game, cheap replacements for close to max and how to obtain all of them.
Other 7DTD Guides:
- 100% Achievement Guide.
- Navezgane Map and All Places of Interest.
- Traps and Turrets (Everything a Survivor Needs to Know).
- Tips and Tricks for Scavenging.
- How to Level Up Gun Skills Quick.
- Armor for Dummies.
- Electricity for Dummies.
Too Long Did Not Read
The best combination is all Military Armor, any eyewear (preferable night vision goggles), goth pants, any type of heavier winter wear-like clothes for a shirt and a gas mask. All of which at 600 quality. If you want to know cheaper alternatives, best ways to obtain said gear and an in-depth look at the world of armor, take a look at the guide.
Skills, Conditions, and Assumptions
The best type of armor in the game is the armor you got, but if you play pvp you may want the advantage of being able to take a few more bullets. The best methods to gaining that edge are leveling up clothing/armor, armor crafting for raising the max durability of armor, and of course getting the items neccessary for a max of 600. All percentages talked about in this guide will assume you have reached 600 quality armor as well as maxed clothing/armor. Any deviation from max everything will significantly change the values.
Durability is vital in armor. Since protection scales as a percentage of overal durability, it can and will drop fast. Half durability max quality military armor will perform woefully poor in comparison to max quality iron armor at full health. So a general tip is to bring enough repair materials to repair armor if caught in an extended fire fight.
Best Overall Type of Armor
So what is the best type of armor. Is it bandit, military, or iron? There is alot of debate in 7 Days To Die about what kind of armor is the best. Some say bandit armor is the best, others Military gear, but once you compare the stats on equipment of similar durability a clear victor emerges. Military at the top with 90% concussive and 95% puncture followed by iron/bandit armor with 85% concussive and 80% puncture. A full jump of 15% in puncture from iron to military is MASSIVE. Puncture is resistance to bullets and with the objective in mind to resist other players this jump is HUGE. The biggest improvement to your overall ability to tank damage will come from getting 600 of military equipment. Some people do swear by bandit armor though and i did investigate it. If you put it and iron armor side by side, the stats are the same right down to the durability and sale price. Bandit armor for all intents and purposes is just reskinned iron armor sadly.
Surprisingly enough, this one is simple. Any eyewear you can get to 600 quality is just as viable as any other type of armor you can get for your eyes. The only small caveat to this is that night vision goggles do emerge on top only for their durability. Night vision goggles have 300 durability compared to every other type of eyewear hanging at 180. This means it will take the damage values longer to plummet than other types of eyewear, but is still nothing to brag about. At 300 durability it is still measly compared to military armor's 700 which loses a significant amount of protection even with minor dents in the durability
Best Coat Slot
Take your pick, poncho or duster. Both have 50% puncture and 55% concussive at the same durability. I prefer ponchos since i can craft them and freezing allows me to get up wellness. All the alternatives had lesser stats than the craftable poncho and lootable poncho.
Best Shirt Wear
This section and legwear are going to be the most annoying parts to get higher and the least consequential. In both this section and legwear, if you just put on a plant fiber shirt and pants, you will drop the max puncture protection down from 106% to 100% and reduce your overall durability in a firefight. The shirt, vest/breastplate, and coat/poncho will be the first to go in a firefight. For some reason the game picks on those items whether you're shot in the head or shot in your foot. They will ALWAYS be the first to go. So the clear champions are the sweatshirt, flannel, and hoodie. They have a durability of 200 and a puncture protection of 40% and concussive protection of 40%. This is in comparison to the fiber shirt which is 31% puncture and 31% concussive and at an even more measely 140 durability.
I mention the fiber shirt though because of its ease of obtainment. Clothing of different colors does not mix. Meaning if you find two sweatshirts of different colors and want to combine them for higher values, you simply can't. This will make it so you'll more than likely wear lower than 600 quality sweatshirts, flannels, and hoodies or resort to fiber as this is the slowest section to fill. Please do remember that each concession you make here will affect your max protection as a drop in your ability to produce higher than plant fiber will affect your 106% protection drop to a base of 100%.
Alot of the points i made on shirtwear are identical for legwear with some small changes. Legwear is even more difficult to obtain as only hazmat pants and goth pants are better than general run of the mill clothing and fiber. The run down is this. Goth Pants at 50% puncture, 60% concussive and 650 durability. Radiation pants at 45% puncture, 40% concussive, and 400 durability. Any run of the mill pants at 33% puncture/concussive and 180 durability. Plant fiber at 31% puncture/concussive and 140 durability. The difference is night and day, but depressingly out of reach. Black Goth Pants is the king of pants with durability up to snuff with military armor and slightly better at puncture than radiation, but this item can only be obtained from biker zombies with a 4.59% chance of dropping from them. It might as well not even exist for the average player. Which is why i also included the radiation pants in this list. They can be obtained only from male hazmat zombies. This guy only has a 1.8% chance of dropping the pants, but with hazmat zombies being relatively common, you at least have a shot at obtaining it.
Hands down, the largest difference you'll notice in your armor is whether or not you're wearing a bandit mask. It has 85% concussive and 80% puncture at 800 durability. Technically you can replace this with a bandana, but your protection would drop by 9% and even a grey quality mask would suit you better than one of these. Just harass the traders until they pity you enough to give you one.
Best Way to Obtain the Armor?
Traders are great for night vision goggles and bandit masks as they will tend to carry them every 3rd time with maxed out secret stash. You'll quickly get these in spades if you visit them often enough (and they also tend to sell great weapons too!!). They are poor sources of military gear though as it comes very rarely and often in low quality. To get the actual armor, you need to raid military camps and missile silos. The benefits of this is the gear you find will be affected by scavenger and get it high enough and you pretty much wont find lower than 300 quality. The actual stats if you're interested is Ammunition boxes give a 7% chance of a military gear drop and military zombies a 20% chance. So even horde nights are a great opportunity to get military gear with these zombies coming to you.
Getting Around Max Armor
As stated, durability is so vital to protection that you are essentially caught with your pants down if you dont keep it high enough and you can use that to your advantage. What many top players will do is run around with some type of explosive. A crossbow with explosive arrows or a rocker launcher. These will consistently break armor entirely upon hitting someone, but i have yet to see it kill anyone upon hitting them when they have maxed out armor. So this trick is best used when shooting from some type of cover at medium range or short ranged (if you can guarentee a couple of seconds of safety) to pull out a main weapon or reload a launcher for the killing blow as they have now become mortal. For most other scenarios, well placed headshots or an ak battle to wear down armor will tend to be the go to for most players as there tends to be less gear to carry and the chances of finding other players with top tier gear tends to be low.
P.S. A summary picture of what i put up can be found here with greatest -> least ordering. Some of the items of similar quality were put next to each other.