Best weapons in Helldivers 2 with full tier list

Helldivers 2 weapons
(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

The best Helldivers 2 weapons and guns change constantly thanks to balancing, tweaks and new Warbonds. But what's best in the tier list of options? The armory is massive, with dozens of primary, secondary, and support weapons to try out. There are few 'one size fits all' options, with some good for bugs, others for bots, and a rare few that are really good in general.

The Helldivers 2 Polar Patriots Warbond added some new Helldivers weapons which has moved our tier list around a little. Top of the new additions is the SMG-72 Pummeller, an SMG that fires concussive rounds, mixing a large clip with improbable stopping power for something you can fire one handed. The G-13 Incendiary Impact grenade is also extremely useful, coating enemies and the surrounding area with white phosphorus to create a barrier of fire. As for the rest, the AR-61 Tenderiser is fine but doesn't little to really make it stand out. While the PLAS-101 Purifier is a slow-charging waste of everyone's time.

If you're wondering how all that all changes our Helldivers 2 weapons tier list then take a look below for our top pick of democracy-spreading guns, including the best primary, secondary, support and throwable weapons.

The best weapons in Helldivers 2

Helldivers 2 weapons

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)
  • Best support weapon Stratagem: Quasar Cannon
  • Best primary weapon: Sickle
  • Best secondary weapon: Redeemer Pistol
  • Best grenade: High Explosive

Since the game's launch, there are plenty of viable weapons to use, but right now the best weapon in Helldivers 2 seems to be the Quasar Cannon. It's incredibly powerful, has infinite ammo, and is highly versatile, being able to take out all sorts of armored targets and structures, making it one of the top picks. Although it's closely followed by the explosive and armor-piercing powerhouses that are the Railgun, Recoilless Rifle, and Expendable Anti-Tank.

Although, the Quasar Cannon is just one of many support weapon Stratagems, and there are plenty of other Stratagems to pick from, including orbital lasers, airstrikes, and sentry turrets - we've also laid out the best Helldivers 2 Stratagems if you want tips there too.

Full Helldivers 2 weapons tier list

Helldivers 2 weapons

(Image credit: Arrowhead Game Studios)

Below I've put all loadout and stratagem weapons into a tier list from S to D, including some details on the pros and cons of each one. Obviously, the ones in S-tier appear in the best Helldivers 2 loadouts and are superb picks for any mission.

  • S-tier - Excellent weapons perfect for almost any mission and enemy.
    • Quasar Cannon (Stratagem): An extremely powerful energy weapon that fires a massive laser blast. It even has infinite ammo and doesn't need a backpack. Excellent against big, armored enemies, but power is offset by a significant cooldown time between shots. 
    • Railgun (Stratagem): Devastating single-shot weapon that can be overcharged in Unsafe Mode for extra power. It has good armor penetration that makes it great for focusing on headshots/weak spots.
    • Sickle: This energy-based AR from the Helldivers 2 Cutting Edge Warbond is completely lethal, firing rapidly and capable of cutting down opponents swiftly, both bug and bot. It also has infinite ammo (in theory) if you effectively manage its cooling.
    • Breaker: While not as powerful as it was at launch, it's still one of the best weapons, you just need to use more careful, precise shots.
    • Scorcher: An explosive energy weapon that fires small bolts quickly and does very high damage per-shot. The only danger is that its explosive nature means shooting enemies close up can kill you too - keep your distance!
    • Recoilless Rifle (Stratagem): A rocket launcher that deals high damage to any enemy and can destroy lots of structures. Excels when coordinating with an ally and having them rapidly feed you rockets.
    • Jar-5 Dominator - This slow but powerful shotgun fires jet propelled rounds that hit like a truck, trading stopping power for fire rate.
    • Stalwart (Stratagem): A versatile and powerful machine gun that clears smaller enemies effectively thanks to a huge magazine. Great against weaker Terminids and you're completely mobile while reloading, unlike the slightly more powerful Machine Gun. 
    • SMG-72 Pummeller - This fires concussive rounds that have a stunning effect on enemies. It's slower to fire than other SMGs but has good sized clip and really packs wallop. 
    • G-13 Incendiary Impact grenade - This explodes on impact coating enemies and the surround area with white phosphorus which then damage enemies that pass through it. Great for controlling the battlefield.
  • A-tier - Great weapons with minor drawbacks or specific niches.
    • Autocannon (Stratagem): A powerful automatic cannon capable of destroying structures with excellent range. It's what you should buy if you can't get the Railgun yet. Requires a backpack, like the Recoilless Rifle, but holds loads of ammo.
    • Flamethrower (Stratagem): Very potent against bug hordes at close-to-medium range, and the Enhanced Combustion Helldivers 2 Ship Module makes it even better. Just try not to set yourself on fire.
    • Expendable Anti-Tank (Stratagem): A decent way to clear armored enemies in a hurry, but the Recoilless is better. Benefits from an extremely short cooldown so can be called in more frequently than any other support weapon Stratagem.
    • Grenade Launcher (Stratagem): A high-capacity grenade launcher that's very good against medium-tier enemies and can be used to destroy nests and fabricators. Just don't fire it at close range as the grenades will bounce unpredicatably!
    • Eruptor: The best weapon in the Helldivers 2 Democratic Detonation Warbond, the Eruptor is a bolt-action rifle that fires exploding shrapnel shells. It can wipe out enemies, sometimes many at once, and can even destroy nests and fabricators. Still, it's cumbersome and slow to use, and risks killing the user if fired at an enemy that's too close.
    • Anti-Materiel Rifle (Stratagem): Lethal sniper rifle that can be used to break armor and deal distant damage without much struggle. A great low-level Railgun substitute and useful against the Automatons.
    • Incendiary Breaker: A version of the Breaker that's more specialised against bugs and unarmored enemies thanks to extra fire damage.
    • Spray and Pray Breaker: A Breaker variant with a larger magazine and faster fire rate.
    • Redeemer Pistol (Secondary): A fast-firing machine pistol that chews up ammo, but also enemies at close range. Reliably cuts through unarmored enemies and can be drawn and fired quickly.
    • Grenade Pistol (Secondary): This sidearm fires a single grenade, dealing solid damage over its blast radius. Pairs very nicely with Stun Grenades but suffers from low ammo reserves and bad resupplying. Use sparingly.
    • High Explosive Grenade: The starting grenade is ultimately the best one - the small blast radius compensated for by high damage and some armor penetration.
    • Stun Grenade: The Stun Grenade in the Cutting Edge Pass deals no damage but temporarily stuns enemies over a wide radius. An effective crowd control option, particularly against Automatons.
  • B-tier - Good weapons that can serve you well with the right loadout and playstyle.
    • Laser Cannon (Stratagem): A laser beam weapon that, like the Quasar Cannon, has no backpack and infinite ammo (in theory). Cooks all enemies but Automatons are especially susceptible to it, though it can't handle heavily armored enemies at all.
    • Spear (Stratagem): An anti-armor rocket launcher - very specialised, but very deadly against heavily-armored enemies such as Helldivers 2 Tanks, Dropships, and Helldivers 2 Bile Titans. However the lock-on can be extrememly finnicky and doesn't let you target specific weaknesses.
    • Airburst Rocket Launcher (Stratagem): Fire proximity detonation rockets that then release a hail of cluster bombs in a wide area. Very powerful, especially against aerial enemies such as Helldivers 2 Shriekers, but massively likely to cause friendly-fire incidents. Be very careful when firing this weapon.
    • Defender: An SMG that can be used one-handed and is quite similar to the standard Liberator. Decent against close hordes or as a quick response.
    • Dominator: A slow, impactful AR with explosive power and medium armor penetration. A decent weapon for staggering larger enemies.
    • Adjudicator: A decent assault rifle with medium armor penetration limited by its small magazine.
    • Stalwart (Stratagem): A versatile and powerful machine gun that clears smaller enemies effectively thanks to a huge magazine. Great against weaker Terminids.
    • Impact Grenade: A zero-fuse explosive that's suited for precision blasts but can't be used as effectively on bug holes or bot factories.
    • Senator Pistol: A heavy revolver that preserves ammo well but does less damage than you'd hope and requires frequent reloading,
    • Arc Thrower (Stratagem): A charging lightning gun that has truly infinite ammo and sends out shocks that leaps between enemies (and allies). It's not as good as it once was but can reliably stagger most enemies, making it good for crowd control.
    • Arc Blitzer: Like the Arc Thrower, the Blitzer fires arcs of electricity but does not require charging. It's good for crowds of weak enemies and can damage those with better armor too.
    • Diligence: A solid ranged rifle that's good for precision damage on robot enemies.
    • Diligence Counter Sniper: A bigger, punchier version of the Diligence that doubles down on its strengths but requires a stable firing position.
    • Liberator: Standard starting assault rifle – works in almost any situation.
    • Knight: A quick SMG with a very high fire rate and one-handed option. Eats through ammo quickly, but lethal at close range.
    • Incendiary Grenade: A firebomb used for area denial. Decent in extractions or defense missions.
    • Punisher: A slow-firing but punchy shotgun that has the benefit (and drawback) of reloading per shot, removing ammo waste but also slowing reloads.
    • Spray and Pray Breaker: A Breaker variant with a larger magazine and faster fire rate.
  • C-tier – Average weapons that are usable but far from being must-picks.
    • Scythe: A highly accurate laser beam weapon that's serviceable against both robots and bugs but overheats quite quickly. The Sickle feels better in pretty much every way.
    • Machine Gun (Stratagem): A rapid-fire, high-capacity weapon that packs a punch, but is both cumbersome and sometimes hard to control. You're also dangerously immobile while reloading.
    • Heavy Machine Gun (Stratagem): An incredibly powerful gun that's also incredibly hard to aim, the recoil throwing the sights upwards, somehow even more than the normal machine gun. You'll need to stay crouched to use this effectively and be prepared to spend a lot of time reloading.
    • Slugger: A Punisher variant that fires high-damage slugs, but is hard to aim and use quickly. Far less powerful than at launch having lost its ability to break fences and other weak structures, and can no longer reliably stagger enemies.
    • Dagger Pistol: A laser pistol from the Cutting Edge Warbond that's only saving grace is its infinite ammo.
    • Peacemaker Pistol: A serviceable starting pistol with balanced stats that's fine in a pinch.
    • Frag Grenade: An explosive that trades power for blast size. Suited for clearing groups.
    • Thermite Grenade: Burns whatever it sticks to for several seconds before exploding. Other grenades are more useful and its burn radius is so small that failing to hit an enemy with it makes it almost pointless.
    • Liberator Penetrator: The starting gun but with slightly worse stats, balanced by medium armor penetration. A bit meh, frankly.
    • Smoke Grenade: A smoke grenade used for escaping enemies - something that rarely is a focus in Helldivers 2.
    • AR-61 Tenderiser - This rifle supposedly trades magazine size for more stopping power but doesn't seem to do anything that really makes it stand out from other ARs.
  • D-tier – Weapons whose performance is sub-par and aren't work packing in your loadout.
    • Exploding Crossbow: A weapon that feels like more of a novelty with little remarkable about it. The explosive bolts can't destroy fabricators or nests either.
    • Liberator Concussive: An unremarkable explosive version of the standard AR that doesn't really live up to the promise and is functional at best.
    • PLAS-101 Purifier - With a slow charge to fire and a concussive effect that's as ndangerous to you as the bugs this is one of the worst weapons I've used in Helldivers 2.

Of course, if you need to actually get any of these weapons, we've explained how to unlock weapons in Helldivers 2 here.

Best weapons for Automatons

Helldivers 2 Devastators

(Image credit: Sony)

Bots in are the more heavily-armored Helldivers 2 faction and tend to fight at range, occasionally with glowing weak spots that need to be targeted, and are best fought with any of the following weapons:

  • Sickle: A laser weapon that shreds through bots and is highly accurate, making it great for focusing on tiny heads.
  • Quasar Cannon: An all-round beast when it comes to destroying anything Automaton, including the bulkiest units, aerial vehicles, and even Fabricators.
  • Breaker: This shotgun is good against almost everything, as mentioned.
  • Railgun: If you're a high enough level to get it, this armor penetrating Stratagem can be used to two-shot Helldivers 2 Hulks if you hit their glowing, red eye (assuming you'll risk the Unsafe mode).
  • Anti-Materiel Rifle: This powerful sniper rifle can blow holes in enemies and target weak points well enough for early players.
  • Scorcher: Robots are more vulnerable to energy weapons, and the Scorcher is the best of that sort, also blowing up armor.

Best weapons for Terminids

Helldivers 2 factions

(Image credit: Sony)

Bugs in Helldivers 2 are generally less armored than bots (though there are exceptions), fight more in melee and close range, appear in greater numbers and have a vulnerability to fire. You should use any of the following:

  • Flamethrower: A great weapon for keeping bugs back and it's surprisingly useful against even heavily-armored Terminids like Helldivers 2 Chargers. Just be aware of it setting the ground on fire.
  • Sickle: Spray and pray and manage your cooling to blast those weaker bugs apart.
  • Breaker: I keep telling you that the Breaker is good.
  • Incendiary Breaker: This inflammatory version of the game's best weapon is more specialized against certain kinds of bugs.
  • Stalwart: When holding back hordes of insects, a rapid-fire machine gun that rarely need to be reloaded is a good bet.
  • G-13 Incendiary Impact grenade - Layering the area with white phosphorus is a great way of damaging any bugs trying to get near you.

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Joel Franey
Guides Writer

Joel Franey is a writer, journalist, podcaster and raconteur with a Masters from Sussex University, none of which has actually equipped him for anything in real life. As a result he chooses to spend most of his time playing video games, reading old books and ingesting chemically-risky levels of caffeine. He is a firm believer that the vast majority of games would be improved by adding a grappling hook, and if they already have one, they should probably add another just to be safe. You can find old work of his at USgamer, Gfinity, Eurogamer and more besides.

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